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Full text of "The tragedy of Russia in Pacific Asia"

THE TRAGEDY OF 

RVSSIA 

IN PACIFIC ASIA 

FREDERICK M? CORMICR 




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IN PACIFIC ASIA 






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THE TRAGEDY OF 
RUSSIA IN PACIFIC ASIA 



BY 

FREDERICK McCORMICK 



ILLUSTRATIONS BY THE AUTHOR, HALF-TONES FROM 
PHOTOGRAPHS, MAPS, ETC. 



IN TWO VOLUMES 

VOLUME I 




NEW YORK 
THE OUTING PUBLISHING COMPANY 

MCMVII 



Copyrighted, 1904, 1905, by 
P F. COLLIER & SON 



Copyrighted, 1907, by 
THE OUTING PUBLISHING COMPANY 



Entered at Stationers' Hall, London, England 



A II rights reserved 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

3 

• 9 

27 
at Port Arthur 37 

5' 
62 

77 
86 

101 

114 



of the Eastern 



I Introduction .... 

II The Russian Eastern Empire 

III The Capital of Conquest . 

IV The Machinery of Conquest — Empire 
V Fledging the Eastern Empire . 

VI The Empire Attacked 

VII The War Situation 

VIII The Neutral Border 

IX Loss of the Sea. 

X The Plan of War 

XI Destruction of the Line of Defense 

Empire .... 

XII The Capital Segregated 

XIII Liao-tung Lost .... 

XIV The Army Base — A New Military Capital 
XV Kuroki's Invasion and the Eastern Detachment 

XVI Repulse of the Eastern Detachment and Loss of the 

Whole New Coast of the Eastern Empire 

XVII Surrender of the Eastern Barrier . 

XVIII LlAO-YANG, THE RELIANCE OF THE EASTERN EMPIRE 

XIX Preliminary Account of the Battle of Liao-yang 

XX Surrender of the Army Base .... 

XXI The Battlefield ...... 

XXII The Neutral Zone ...... 

vii 



121 
124 
127 
132 

139 

'45 

>55 
170 

'85 

196 
221 
229 



List of Illustrations 



FACING 
PAGE 



A pope (priest) of the Orthodox Russian church . 

General BarzhanofT ........ 

General Rennencamp ...... 

Retreat of the infantry of the 17th Corps along the railway on 
October 12th ........ 

Retreat from Tou-san-p'u: saving the guns 

General Bilderling ........ 

General Tisenhausen ........ 

General GreikofT ........ 

General Rennencamp ........ 

Map of the Battle of Mukden . . . 

The battlefield at Yu-hung-t'un, March 6th 

Part of the line at Yu-hung-t'un ...... 

Russian soldiers bringing in Japanese wounded from the Hsin-min 
t'un road ......... 

Saving the siege guns of the Sha-ho position 



250 
258 
258 

278 
284 
290 
306 

330 
380 

384 
406 
410 

414 
418 



r" 



THE TRAGEDY OF RUSSIA 
IN PACIFIC ASIA 



r 



CHAPTER I 



INTRODUCTION 



THE encroachment of the West upon the sacred soil 
of East Asia has been continuous throughout 
more than fifty years, during which time Portugal, 
Great Britain, France, Germany and Russia segregated and 
exploited regions and cities as large in territory and as popu- 
lous as European states of the first class. 

But it remained for Russia to devise depredations that 
finally convulsed East Asia and hustled the West back upon 
itself. 

The unfolding of a scheme like the schemes of Napoleon, 
but emanating from a royal conspiracy within one empire, 
precipitated an epoch. Russia is seen in the '90's of the last 
century looking with admiring and jealous eyes upon the 
mighty and glorious empire of the Britons, rising as it does 
from the emerald isles and continents in four hemispheres, 
and, their imaginations clutching at opportunity, the imperial 
conspirators are seen forming what they made known as 
the Russian Eastern Empire. To fledge this embryo state 
and to establish it in perpetuity by reducing and overawing 
Japan, as China was already domineered and overawed, the 
conspirators moved all the mobile and negotiable forces of 
Russia, which by the adventure undid herself and for self- 
preservation had at last to make a peace with her intended 
victim that is the severest disgrace any European throne 
has endured since the time of Napoleon. But the conflict 
with Japan has not been a mere contest with a single power. 
It has been a problem of more than half a century that has 

3 



The Tragedy of Russia 



been worked out for the West, and a working out which 
centuries had waited for. 

The solution may be likened to a game of ten-pins. Japan, 
one of four powers vitally concerned and only the third in 
size and wealth, in swift succession 

(i) Captured the sea from Russia, the largest and 
wealthiest; 

(2) Destroyed the line of defense of the Russian Eastern 
Empire; 

(3) Segregated and captured the capital of the Russian 
Eastern Empire; 

(4) Captured the " neutral zone " of the Russian land 
concession (Liao-tung) ; 

( 5 ) Captured the whole new coast of the Russian Eastern 
Empire; 

(6) Captured the Russian base (Liao-yang) ; 

(7) Destroyed the Russian offensive (battles of Sha-Ho 
and San-chia-p'u) ; 

(8) Captured the Russian refuge, the Manchurian capi- 
tal, Mukden; 

(9) Captured and destroyed the whole Russian mobile 
navy; and 

(10) Ended the war with a timely and profitable peace 
with concessions of Russian territory, property, fran- 
chises, etc. r 

But the effect upon Russia, while wholly revolutionary, 
is but a small part of the result of these ten great events. 
To match them an earlier history than that of the abolition 
of slavery, the beginning of a new world, must be recalled. 
Their importance is to the other nations of the West whose 
populations and governmental systems by their advancement 
hold them in contact and force them to compromise with 
East Asia. 

Since 1905 the nations of the West have shifted their 

4 



Introduction 



Oriental footing; their military, educational, religious, not 
to say, ethical footing. Libraries of books that have been 
written on the default and dissolution of East Asia appear 
now but foolish commentaries upon the default and con- 
founding of the West. Their contents must be repudiated 
or restated in another way. The reason of this has gone 
forth into the world; the East has met the West. 

In nineteen months the world was altered. Not only was 
it changed politically, geographically, and militarily, but 
scientifically, for the East has taught us unrevealed uses of 
our implements of war, of our principles of diplomacy, and 
it will teach us to abandon our science of ethnology and to 
modify our ethics, our politics and our religion. 

It has been the occupation of Holland, Great Britain and 
France, and is the dream of three contiguous nations — Rus- 
sia, Japan, and America, and of at least two other first- 
class powers, to build up cities in the eastern and southern 
seas, and empires in the lands of the eastern and southern 
seas like that of Great Britain. But it is now first necessary 
to know the apprehension and wish of Chinese and Japanese 
whom these enterprises vitally affect. For the recent great 
attempt upon East Asia by Russia has disclosed that these 
designs, past and present, are in the nature of unwelcome 
depredations that can be extinguished. 

Man, as he is understood in the West, is loath to accept 
the idea that the torch of civilization and humanity has 
been carried forward by the short sturdy yellow legs that 
doubled up the Grand Army of Russia and rolled it back 
beyond the Baikal. This is because the full splendor of 
events cannot be immediately appreciated. But this does 
not affect their importance. Most of the problems of civili- 
zation remain still to be worked out, when they will be fully 
understood, but their final solution began in 1905 when 
the world was entirely discovered and when the last great 

5 



The Tragedy of Russia 



event had taken place in man's migration, the meeting of 
the East and West and the clearing up in a preliminary but 
effective manner of their initial differences. This achievement 
is also Japan's, and the events which she, provoked by the 
imposition of the Russian Eastern Empire, has offered for 
the consideration of this world are: 

( i ) The demolition of the Russian Eastern Empire, and 
the Revolution of Russia; 

(2) The elimination of governments and administrations 
whose weaknesses were at the bottom of Western depreda- 
tion in East Asia; 

(3) The formation of the New Japanese Empire; 

(4) The consolidation of East Asia; 

(5) Continental reconstruction; 

(6) The elimination of the West and the domination of 
the seas of East Asia; 

(7) The revolution of foreign relations, especially Ameri- 
can relations. 

Just what these things now mean has been the subject of 
the most feverish speculation in all Western countries since 
June, 1905. Aside from the cataclysmal effects produced 
upon Russia, these speculations have been illuminated by 
direct effects upon America in the form of resentment and 
hostilities exhibited by both China and Japan. America must 
observe that the first hostile rtlemonstrations by the newly 
competent East were made against her. The first resentment 
by China when emancipated from Western menace by Japan- 
ese success in war was in the form of trade hostility directed 
against America. The first antagonism to Western nations 
following her complete vanquishing of Russia was made 
by Japan against America. In view of these important 
facts the meaning to the world of the great events submitted 
to it by Japan may be arrived at by an understanding of 
their meaning to America. 

6 



Introduction 



This importance has been anticipated by the direct partici- 
pation of America in the causes, progress and termination 
of the war. The intervention by an American president in 
the vital affairs of two first-class foreign powers to stop a 
war of the first magnitude is an unprecedented event. The 
war which Theodore Roosevelt as President of the United 
States ended was not a war whose causes, object and effects 
were alien, but they were on the contrary a part of the past, 
the present, and are vitally a part of the future of America. 

American pioneers had no more than planted their feet 
firmly upon the Alaskan slopes of the Pacific than beyond 
the volcanic fires of Kamchatka they saw the flash and 
heard the roll of great guns, far greater than startled the 
forests of the Atlantic when the first New World was born. 
And the sound of those guns had scarcely died away when 
a second New World was growling over its cubs thrown 
up on our shores and America was startled at the sound. 
These things have come about by the adventures of 
the West in East Asia and for the unexpected outcome 
of those adventures the nations that looked on and even 
those that participated, like America, are found unpre- 
pared. As with other nations the situation of America is 
suddenly outlined as that of an alien, adverse and therefore 
menacing civilization varying only in degree from the 
aggressive and predatory elements of the rest of Western 
civilization. 

America is disposed to feel abused by being placed in the 
same category in world politics with European powers whose 
national welfare and safety are fixed in the course of political 
depredation and territorial acquisition. And Americans are 
disposed to flatter themselves that because America is not 
intentionally or actively predatory in East Asia and that 
because American policy has been one of benevolence there 
that America is so understood and appreciated by Chinese 

7 



The Tragedy of Russia 



and Japanese. We have not made a greater or more per- 
nicious mistake. The purely moral policy of a single nation 
can change in nowise the aspect to East Asians of this era 
of an outside world that it is a unit in color, religion, dress, 
custom and exhibition of physical force, and whose main 
manifestation in East Asia is geographical, economical and 
religious depredation. America, though doubtless among 
the least of the offenders, is judged like all the rest by a 
standard of villainy fixed by the worst. Those who may be 
by practice correct are by comparison unfortunate. But 
though abused by destiny and prejudice they cannot escape 
the working out of a great future in which it is given 
America to play among Western powers the principal part 
in Pacific Asia. 

In this working out of a future great destiny on the 
Pacific the Eastern leopard cannot change his spots — much 
less can the Western tiger change his stripes. But these 
two can live together and be made to more closely resemble 
and supplement each other. 

Now upon the re-establishment of peace America is left to 
find her position and to first work out the greatest problems 
presented by the war. In doing this she will not harbor 
dangerous delusions regarding the depredations in Asia of 
her kin nor be without a priceless understanding of her posi- 
tion so long as she possesses a knowledge and belief of 
Western depredations upon the Pacific East and of how the 
game was played between Nicholas Romanoff and Mutsu- 
hito, between Alexis, Kouropatkin and Oyama Iwao and the 
subsequent status and acts of the nations east and west that 
participated and looked on. 



CHAPTER II 

THE RUSSIAN EASTERN EMPIRE 

THE Russian contention for this Eastern Empire 
which should on the Pacific balance and complete 
their European Empire, and which ended in the 
disastrous world drama centered at Port Arthur, was the 
finale of a seductive expansion which began more than three 
centuries ago and can be said to date from Peter the Great. 
In its progress it first encountered the Chinese proper on the 
Amur and was thrown back. This was also the second 
check to Russian adventures on the Pacific coast of Asia, 
the first having been administered by the Manchurians. 
Russia's long career of successful expansion was through 
savage regions and when it met in Manchuria the obstacle 
of civilization it failed. Russia not only failed in her con- 
test with Japan, but in no single-handed contest with China 
has she ever succeeded. And it is not only now very doubt- 
ful — it is appreciably certain — that she never will. Chinese 
arms and Chinese diplomacy may themselves still save the 
day, even without the direct interference of Japan. 

The voyage of Russia eastward was continuous. The 
government at St. Petersburg was at all times conscious of 
the persistence of what it self-phrased its " destiny." Impe- 
rial authority was at all times conscious of the acquisition of 
domain and the extension of jurisdiction. Among the last 
acts in the game of Eastern Empire the government sanc- 
tioned the dictum " historic destiny " which was confidently 
claimed when having arrived on the shores of the Gulf of 
Chih-li the creation of the fiat city of Dalny was decreed. 

9 



The Tragedy of Russia 



The individual autocrats of the great political fiasco which 
took place there, proudly called " empire-builders," were 
always conscious of the examples of their numerous prede- 
cessors — Ignatieff, who by treaty with China in i860 
secured an advantageous delimitation of the Amur bounda- 
ries and all that part of Manchuria on the Japan Sea; 
Admiral Putiatin, who concluded the Russian Treaty of Tien- 
tsin in 1858 — similar to those made by other powers; 
Muravieff, who established Russian settlers on the Amur and 
concluded the Treaty of Aigun, whereby Russia came into 
possession of the left bank of the Amur and what is now the 
Primorsk; Chernigovsky, who established Albazin at the top 
of the big bend of the Amur; Stepanoff, who sailed up and 
down the Amur for several years collecting tribute from 
the Chinese inhabitants and died the miserable death of a 
whipped adventurer; Khabaroff, who explored the Amur 
to the mouth of the Sungari, forcing the natives to swear 
allegiance to the Czar; Poyarkoff, who plundered and mur- 
dered among the native tribes in whose territories he 
explored on the upper Amur; and then farther back, the 
traditional heroes of central and western Siberia. 

The progress of the Manchurian voyage is comprised 
within the forty years between 1858 and 1898. In these 
forty years Russia came down from the Arctic watershed 
of Siberia to the Sea of Japan and to the Gulf of Chih-li. 
Not content to abide beyond Manchuria, as she had agreed 
to do in 1689 in the Treaty of Nerchinsk, she descended to 
the Amur carrying settlers and establishing military posts, 
and picking up the boundary stones, carried them to Har- 
barvosk and to Vladivostok, where they are now to be seen 
in the local museums. Boundary stones have ever been to 
political expansionists but ethnological curiosities. 

Russia came down to the Amur in the seventeenth cen- 
tury, when the present Chinese dynasty was busy attain- 

10 



The Russian Eastern Empire 



ing and cementing its own sovereignty in the south, as well 
as to the north of the eighteen provinces. But when it 
had a breathing space from its conquests in which to gather 
armies, it destroyed the Russian forts and settlements of 
those days and Russia's peace plenipotentiary was glad 
enough, in the Treaty of Nerchinsk ( 1689), to sign a mani- 
fest of complete withdrawal, and it is to Russia's credit that 
she kept the treaty agreement for more than a century and 
a half, while at the same time cherishing a wholesome 
respect for Chinese arms and Chinese diplomacy. This is 
the only boundary treaty she has kept. 

It was in 1858 and in i860 when China, exhausted by 
the Tai-ping Rebellion and intimidated by the Anglo- 
French expedition which had reached Peking, her capital, 
signed away her old boundaries to the invader Muravieff, 
against whom China never offered to break a lance, and 
allowed Russian empire to move down to the Tumen River, 
which divides Manchuria from Korea, and occupy all the 
left bank of the Amur and more. 

It was at the time of the Japan-China war of 1894-5 that 
Russia obtained her railway concession across the north of 
Manchuria (it is supposed by bluster, threats and cajolery), 
when the Chinese were deeply chagrined and humiliated by 
the Japanese successes. 

It was in 1898 that Russia received from China in the 
nature of a reward Kuang-tung, a part of the territory 
which had been recovered from Japan, and the concession 
for a railway to join the new acquisition with the railway in 
the north without the inconvenience of any kind of conflict 
or strong resistance. Russia therefore may be said to have 
been victorious in her aggressions in China only when other 
powers were like tigers upon China's back. It must be borne 
in mind that this was not so much national design as it 
was imperialist conspiracy and diplomatic adventure. 

IT 



The Tragedy of Russia 



For thirty-seven years after Muravieff carried the Man- 
churian-Siberian boundary stones of the Nerchinsk Treaty 
down to the Amur and to the Sea of Japan, no epoch- 
marking event occurred in Russian expansion there. The 
first war of the period of the Manchurian " question " took 
place in 1894 when Japan, offended at the military occu- 
pation of Korea which China had attempted, contrary to 
agreement, routed the Chinese armies from Korea — an inde- 
pendent state — and from southern Manchuria, and the Chi- 
nese fleet from the seas; made Korean independence which 
she had asserted unassailable, and took the conquered Man- 
churian territory as indemnity. The treaty of peace made at 
Shimoneseki in Japan formally ceded this territory to her 
and it was through the recession of the same territory, diplo- 
matically brought about by a combination of European 
powers — Russia, Germany and France mainly — that Russia 
was enabled, by acquiring a part of the same, to reach the 
end of her voyage, and initiate adventures that rapidly 
effected the war which was such a disaster to her, and which 
altered the world. 

The voyage, which in 1858 reached the Sea of Japan, 
depriving China and Manchuria of an outlet there, had in 
1 898, when Russia secured the lease of the Kuang-tung Penin- 
sula (Liao-tung), reached the Gulf of Chih-li, beyond which 
it is probable that it could not go, although the conspirators 
themselves admitted no limits. The attainment of this 
coveted territory by peaceful design from Japan, who had 
fairly won it in war within less than two years, had a humili- 
ating aspect to the original conquerors never forgotten. 

After the Japan-China war the chief political event in 
Manchuria was the acquisition by Russia in 1896 of the 
right to build the " Chinese Eastern Railway." By this 
achievement a Russian military highway was established 
straight through Manchuria from east to west, and the 

12 



The Russian Eastern Empire 



original all-Russian line connecting with Vladivostok by way 
of the Amur valley — an expensive and enormous undertak- 
ing — was left in satisfied abeyance; empire being promoted in 
a little better clime. The significance of this event was 
tremendous. 

Now in addition Russia acquired in 1898 the lease of 
Kuang-tung, containing Port Arthur, and immediately added 
to it the right granted by China to connect these realms at 
the southern extremity of Manchuria with the Chinese 
Eastern Railway in the north, the connecting line to be 
called the " Central Manchurian Railway." In all these 
transactions China was helpless or perverse, and Japan 
humiliated. In the three years preceding the outbreak of 
war with Japan, Russia reached the high-water mark in her 
career of aggression on Chinese soil. Then the excesses 
of her conquest-greed, military show and bluster provoked 
hostility and contempt in the whole outside world. 

That Russia's northern concessions were acquired during 
the progress of the Japan-China war serves to show that 
events were even then moving very rapidly in the Eastern 
game. The contest between the two unequal nations, Rus- 
sia and Japan, who as outsiders were most vitally interested 
in Manchuria, was irrevocably fixed and avowed, and by 
the year 1900 was, so to speak, " neck and neck." The 
advantage so far was with Russia. Continental interference 
(in the form of intervention) that achieved the recession 
of Liao-tung and Port Arthur to China had made sure the 
acquirement of a part of the same to Russia and enabled 
Russia to occupy Chinese soil for two years with troops 
(Frontier Guards) which were ready when the Boxer trouble 
commenced in 1900 to invest and conquer. Japan had won 
and lost southern Manchuria, including the fortress harbor 
of Port Arthur. And Russia by diplomatic good fortune 
and conspiracy had filched it, as the world agrees, from 

13 



The Russian Eastern Empire 



the ground of contest. Furthermore, when the Boxer 
troubles gave Japan an opportunity to play an ambitious part 
and to make good what she might through military achieve- 
ments on the mainland, the continued Continental conspiracy 
prevented her from even landing her troops to relieve the 
distress of foreigners or of even her own people in China 
pending the co-operation of other great powers, while in 
the meantime Russia was at liberty to push forward, and 
did rapidly occupy the whole of Manchuria alone. It was 
as if the whole world, suspicious of Japan, was conspiring 
to secure Manchuria for Russian ownership. There is no 
doubt that not only the simple-minded Russian was unduly 
puffed up with this windfall of undeserved fortune, but 
that Russia's friends and well-wishers in her conquest paid 
an homage to her prestige which she did not deserve. A 
discord of forces friendly and unfriendly worked for the 
time being in concert with her designs, like a decree of fate, 
and established in countries like Germany and France a 
conviction of confidence in the supremacy of Imperial Russia 
which manifested itself in demonstrations almost to the end. 
By 1900 her railways in Manchuria were half finished. To 
explain more fully the existing situation at this time it can be 
said that the Russian adventurers who were assembled in 
groups and were working under the general heads of the 
Russo-Chinese Bank, Chinese Eastern and the Central Man- 
churian railways, and the Manchurian and Kuang-tung 
military administrations, had begun and were rapidly build- 
ing the whole Manchurian system of railways and auxiliary 
commercial organizations which were to complete the 
machinery of empire. The railways were under construc- 
tion from all points touched by tide-water and reached by 
already working railways. The points on the Manchurian 
system reached by Siberian railways were Nikolsk in the 
Primorsk, and Kaidolove outside the northwest border of 

14 



The Tragedy of Russia 



Manchuria, from which places, as well as from Harbin on 
the navigable Sungari, Niu-ch'uang on the Liao, and Dalny 
on the Bay of Korea, construction was carried on. As already 
stated, perhaps half of the railway system was completed 
when in 1900 the Boxers stampeded the constructors and all 
foreigners in Manchuria and tore up a large part of the 
work, destroying locomotives and all available foreign 
property. 

This foolish and unlucky mistake of the Chinese, while it 
cost them freedom of administration and of movement in 
their own domain, gave Russia such an opportunity as was 
exactly suited to her methods of conquest and of which she 
instantly availed herself. Russia immediately occupied the 
land from east to west and from north to south with troops. 
In addition she established supervisors of government, with 
vague, ill-defined and gloomy powers, in the three provinces 
of Sheng-king, Kirin and Hei-lung-chiang, to which the 
highest officers of the native throne of China were amenable, 
and it became the occupation of these supervisors to dictate, 
to hector and intimidate from top to bottom the native rule. 

It will be seen from these events that Russia, in so far 
as forcible conquest went, was " acquiring " Manchuria very 
rapidly indeed. And her enemies by the very irony of human 
exertion were themselves contributing to this success. The 
Tartar generals at the three provincial capitals of Mukden, 
Kirin and Tsi-tsi-har, virtually viceroys of the throne, were 
supervised by Russian " Commissars " representing only the 
highest Russian military authority at Port Arthur, and to 
whom they were coerced to defer. The Russian troops who 
had collected in bodies at the important centers,* from which 
points they operated, maintained a constant administrative 
occupation for four and one-half years, or until driven out 

* Hailar, Merghen, Tsi-tsi-har, San-sing, Harbin, Ninguta, Hun-chun, Kirin, Mukden, 
Liao-yang, Niu-ch'uang, Feng-huang-ch-'eng, etc. 

15 



The Tragedy of Russia 



by Japanese armies, notwithstanding solemn obligations to 
withdraw signed with China and admitted before the powers 
in 1902. 

From this date last mentioned the " Manchurian ques- 
tion " rapidly became acute. All other powers had sur- 
rendered whatever domain they had occupied by reasons of 
losses incurred by the Boxers and were in some instances a 
little anxiously awaiting the recalcitrant and Fabian bar- 
barian of the north to let go his hold and withdraw. At 
last an evacuation protocol was signed between the Wai- 
wu-pu or Chinese Foreign Office and the Russian Minister 
in Peking which provided for the withdrawal of the Russian 
armies of occupation from the entire country within eighteen 
months. According to this agreement, which is called the 
Manchurian Convention, the evacuation was to be accom- 
plished in three steps, as follows: The region south and 
west of the Liao River was to be evacuated at the end of 
six months from date; the region from the Liao River to 
the Amur River provinces at the end of twelve months, and 
the northern country back to the Siberian boundary at the 
end of eighteen months. These conditions and agreements 
were never fulfilled. 

It cannot be said that it was not the intention of Russia 
to carry out this Convention, for no one is certain of what 
the word " Russia " then meant. The Government was 
dominated by conspirators and the Evacuation Convention 
was carried through by the only agent of the Imperial 
Government in the Far East who was inimical to the con- 
spirators and who condemned their predatory schemes — 
Mr. Lessar. The region south and west of the Liao River, 
containing no very important cities, nor harbors, nor Russian 
works, nor vested interests (the railway it contained belonged 
to China under British mortgage) , was duly evacuated. The 
role of claimant of the Manchurian Convention, seeing that 

16 



The Russian Eastern Empire 



the Convention had been authoritatively signed, was one 
which the Imperial Government under the conspirators was 
glad to boast, since it could be done with no menace to 
" destiny," and though it was afterward proved to be actually 
merely accidental. 

But the obligations of the evacuation agreement were 
intolerable to the empire-builders, who now placed Admiral 
Alexeieff, ruling at Port Arthur, at the head of their adven- 
tures. Evacuation ceased when it reached Russian vested 
interests at the Liao River and the Manchurian Convention 
came to grief. The destiny of the Eastern Empire was 
now entrusted solely to Admiral Alexeieff, who was made 
Viceroy of the Russian Far East, a commission not only 
for contiguous Mongolia and for parts of Siberia and Kuang- 
tung, but for all possible rights held by Russia to have been 
acquired in Manchuria and Korea — a vague, illimitable and 
nearly boundless patent — as well as the elements of the 
government doing duty in banks, railways, shipping com- 
panies and other industrial concerns in Manchuria. A navy 
and an army assembled to serve him. 

The conspirators, after the signing of the evacuation agree- 
ment at Peking, displaced the Russian Minister Lessar and 
the administration of the " Eastern Empire " usurped the 
Imperial Russian Legation in Peking. Alexeieff dispatched 
a charge d'affaires of his own with a super-important trust 
from Port Arthur, the fortress capital of conquest, to Peking. 
Bezobrazoff, Oktomsky and other leaders of the conspiracy 
were at the time in Port Arthur, and the events of this short 
period of the conquest moved very fast. The actions of 
these conspirators indicated that at least the Eastern Empire 
was intent on immediate war. The operations of Russian 
agents in Korea implicate the St. Petersburg Government 
in the conspiracy, for Alexeieff controlled them, and the acts 
of Russian agents clearly showed the anticipation of war. 

17 



The Tragedy of Russia 



It is certain that the acts of the Port Arthur regime 
were now clumsily and brutally devised and executed, and 
there is no wonder that they led so quickly to war. Lessar's 
agreement was the embodiment of endless promises given 
by Russia to the various powers to evacuate, and the manner 
of its repudiation by Alexeieff et aL, was perhaps the most 
revolting act of their diplomacy. The whole world was 
suddenly startled and scandalized by the announcement of 
seven revolutionary demands presented to the Chinese 
Government by Alexeieff, through his charge d'affaires — 
demands amounting to a declaration of proprietorship of 
the whole of Manchuria, a repudiation of the Manchurian 
Convention and an open challenge to three powers. 

The Chinese Government made known to the world the 
outrageous demands made upon her by Alexeieff and fell 
back upon the powers for support. The hegemony at Port 
Arthur immediately retaliated by taking military possession 
of the gates of the City of Mukden, the ancient capital of 
the Manchus, and perhaps the most sacred spot in China 
to the ruling dynasty, and having now completed the Man- 
churian Railway system, which was invested with Russian 
troops, made known its intention to sit tight. 

The date for the evacuation of the region secondly 
delimited in the Manchurian Convention, now passed with- 
out any evacuation taking place, while on the contrary means 
of defense of territory held were devised and promoted by 
the military actors at Port Arthur. On April 13, 1903, 
Alexeieff was made Viceroy, or, as styled in the Imperial 
ukase, " Imperial Lieutenant of the Far East." In October, 
1903, when the date upon which the complete evacuation of 
Manchuria was to have been accomplished had passed, he 
made a defiant demonstration at his stronghold, Port Arthur, 
of all the military assets of Kuang-tung, including the naval 
forces. This demonstration was diligently advertised abroad 

18 



The Russian Eastern Empire 



and the impression given out that from fifty to seventy-five 
thousand troops participated in it. But it is known to the 
powers that the actual number of land and naval forces 
was twenty thousand to twenty-five thousand troops. Russia 
had now, by her habit and policy of greed, her subterfuge of 
bad faith, her arrogance to nations, and her defiance of right, 
struck a precipitate descent into catastrophies such as only 
accompany the last arbitrament of empires. 

The meaning of " Imperial Lieutenancy of the Far East," 
about which Japan and China repeatedly questioned Russia 
without getting an avowal, had now for some time been 
realized, though in Tokyo alone was it understood and the 
truth believed. Though the past history of Russian aggres- 
sion was known, it could not be believed that modern Rus- 
sian agents could be capable of more daring deeds before the 
eyes of the world than Muravieff and Ignatieff had com- 
mitted in an era of political darkness in the Far East. The 
disclosures of the autumn of 1903 brought immense relief 
to the Japanese, whose course was now completely simplified; 
war was indisputable. From now Russia, as she affected the 
Far East, became the " Eastern Empire," a sovereignty 
embraced in the Imperial dictum " Lieutenancy of the Far 
East." Russia was " The Eastern Empire," and the " East- 
ern Empire " was Russia, and nowhere in the Far East was 
there any agent of the Russian Government who was not a 
part of " The Eastern Empire." Not until after the Eastern 
Empire was launched into a war for the purpose of consoli- 
dating and justifying by force and bloodshed what it had 
devised by conspiracy was there any government agent oppos- 
ing it. Lessar, whose wisdom was flouted and who carried 
through the evacuation agreement, did not return to the 
East to exercise any influence and only returned to die. 

As Russia is such a country that no man appears to be 
able to say exactly what it is or what attributes belonged 

19 



The Tragedy of Russia 



strictly to it, it seems more just to deal with its adventures 
in the Far East under the standard of the Eastern Empire, 
and thus the nation and the Government will be able to share 
alike the credit and the odium of their exploit. It is not 
necessary, then, to pursue Russia's identity in the making of 
the Eastern Empire beyond the established fact that all 
the forces of Russia, in so far as they could be controlled 
by the Emperor and the Government were freely and venge- 
fully given to further the whole scheme of the Eastern 
Empire.* Diplomatically, financially, martially, the state 
was convulsed to give up its strength as was shown by the 
throes into which it declined on this account, and its credit 
was peddled in the capitals of the world to give vitality to 
that strength. 

At the opening of the war the Eastern Empire as projected 
by the conspiracy in the Government and as adopted by 
the Government and the Emperor into the national plan of 
state, and which was believed by many to be a reality, 
embraced at least two independent empires, Manchuria and 
Korea, with contiguous territory in Mongolia and Siberia. 
It embraced the complete subjugation of Manchuria, Korea 
and an indefinite portion of Mongolia, and with a great fleet 
moving between Port Arthur and Vladivostok, this Empire 
was intended to control the confronting seas — the Japan Sea 
and the Yellow Sea — and to dominate Japan. It had already 
an open Pacific coast along the Island of Saghalen. But 
the arrest of Japanese development at the stage of a third, 
or at most a second-rate power, and the control of the straits 
of La Perouse and Tsushima (Korean straits) was to it 
essential. No reasonable mind familiar with the methods 
and the minds of the hegemony at Port Arthur can doubt 
that they believed in the domination of Japan as a matter 
of course, and regarded it as a foregone conclusion that 

* See Russia's Declaration of War, in Appendix. 
20 



The Russian Eastern Empire 



with the war inaugurated Japan as a world power would 
remain as a nation of the third or fourth rate, which they 
believed her to be, and would continue her existence, which 
she would owe to Great Britain, under the shadow of Russian 
domination, as would China, where already existed extensive 
Russian plans partly worked out. 

The Eastern Empire was thus composed: the Primorsk, 
including Saghalen, gave an ocean frontier. Korea guarded 
the Tsushima Strait and cut Japan's communications with 
Manchuria and North China. The Sungari and the Liao 
rivers gave vast natural communications, and the Great Wall 
formed an admirable boundary for treaties and a fine diplo- 
matic barrier. With command of the sea the east and south 
were protected, for Russia had with Great Britain a written 
agreement admitting Russia's influence and conceding her 
sphere south to the Great Wall. On the north was Russia; 
on the northwest was Russia; while on the west Mongolia 
was nearly as much Russian as it was Chinese and offered a 
region for expansion uncontested by other powers, and 
limited only by England in Thibet and Russia in Turkestan. 
There was no serious opposition in all of this region to 
Russia's influence, except the opposition of Japan. And it 
was believed by the Russians that Japanese opposition could 
be scared out of Manchuria entirely, and even beyond the 
Yalu to Seoul, from where it could be whipped off the 
peninsula and off the seas. 

The machinery which for nearly a decade had been in 
operation to subjugate these realms, was extensive and for- 
midable. When the war broke out the Russians knew more 
about Manchuria than any other people and far more than 
they were credited with. In 1895-6, just after the Chinese- 
Japanese War, Russian agents began researches into the 
wealth of the country in view of commercial possibilities. 
The Russians began to ally themselves with certain Chinese, 

21 



The Tragedy of Russia 



or Chinese with themselves, and penetrated to the remotest 
places in search of metals, timber, and grazing and agri- 
cultural land. They accumulated comprehensive statistics and 
they mapped the country, especially the southern half, in an 
extensive manner. They are the only nation that has done 
this, and the Japanese themselves relied upon Russian maps 
in their invasion. 

The Russians enrolled princes, envoys, chiefs, officials, 
dignitaries, headmen, merchants and brigands into a direc- 
tory. They practically abolished the Mongolian boundary. 
Northeastern Mongolia has been for a long time under their 
influence and continues to be dominated by them. Most of 
the princes of those regions who are tributary to Peking 
are at the same time amenable to Russian authority. There 
are perhaps not more than two Mongolian princes or chiefs 
in northern and eastern Mongolia who are hostile to Russia. 

The seriousness of the scheme of the Eastern Empire 
may be understood from an enumeration of its assets. Port 
Arthur, the military capital of this military empire, was 
reached by a line of railway extending six thousand miles 
from St. Petersburg. It was an " impregnable fortress " ; 
and in Vladivostok, at an equal distance from St. Peters- 
burg, the Eastern Empire had a stronghold of equal power 
and strength, whose name meant " the dominion or posses- 
sion of the East." To transform a region so remote, from 
a jumble of nations and provinces into one empire, fully 
half a billion roubles were invested and spent, exclusive of 
armaments, at Port Arthur, Dalny, Kin-chou and Vladi- 
vostok; while fleets and armaments representing an equal 
amount were detached from the service of Russia in Europe 
to overawe the enemies of the Empire and to justify and 
defend it. In connection with the railways more than twenty 
steamers were operating between the principal ports. 

In order to increase Russian wealth and influence, the 

22 



The Russian Eastern Empire 



Russo-Chinese Bank was organized to promote commerce 
by loaning money for the purchase of Russian manufac- 
tures; by selling kerosene, sugar, etc., and was established 
in all the principal cities to promote to the utmost these 
endeavors. Manchuria was a country under-populated, and 
was a fair land whose bright prospects aroused official cupid- 
ity and lured Russian conspirators and adventurers on. At 
one time they asked China to allow the introduction of 
10,000 Russian immigrants in a body for colonization. 
Communities of Russians were established in all the princi- 
pal cities, although in the interior no city approached in the 
importance of its Russian interests that of Harbin, which 
on the eve of the war had attained a foreign population of 
40,000. The ports of the Eastern Empire in the order of 
their importance were: Niu-ch'uang, because of its inter- 
national commerce; Port Arthur, because it was the naval 
center and because of purely Russian ports it took the lead 
in commerce; Vladivostok and Dalny. All of these ports, 
except Niu-ch'uang, were wholly Russian, and besides the 
port of Niu-ch'uang, which the Eastern Empire adminis- 
tered, a port had been acquired in Korea — that of Yon- 
gampo on the Yalu — which the Russians rechristened Port 
Nicholas, while a coaling station in the important port of 
Masaipo was in possession of the Eastern Empire. The 
whole Russian population of Manchuria and Korea was 
close to 150,000. The value of this Eastern Empire as 
expressed in money already invested in Manchuria and 
Korea could not have been much less than one billion rubles 
at the opening of the war. The native wealth accumulated 
in cities and towns, the wealth of undeveloped resources, 
the value of production, the value of an established adminis- 
tration both civil and military, and other forms of wealth, 
were inestimable. That the real and potential wealth of the 
Empire was appreciated, however, by the Russians is proved 

23 



The Tragedy of Russia 



by the nature and extent of the machinery which they main- 
tained to secure it. The navy was such as a first-class state 
might envy and was numerically superior in the beginning 
to the navy of the first-class Empire of Japan. There were 
fifty-nine ships of war and fourteen auxiliary steamers, besides 
tugs, etc., at all times in peace within call of and subject to 
the orders of the Czar's lieutenant at the head of the Eastern 
Empire at Port Arthur. And in the same manner could 
be added to this navy in war, the merchant fleet of the 
Chinese Eastern Railway, embracing twenty other vessels. 
When the war became a fact this vast fleet was further 
supplemented by torpedo boats and submarines brought 
overland from Russia, and by nearly the whole remaining 
deep-sea fleet of the Russian Empire in Europe which under 
Rodjestvensky was lost in the Sea of Japan. From first to 
last the Eastern Empire commanded in its defense, for it was 
never able to achieve the aggressive on sea, no less than one 
hundred and thirty-five ships of all kinds. With this 
machinery of conquest Russia, in the form of the Eastern 
Empire, at the beginning of 1904 had captured twenty-five 
millions of people and was in possession of and dominated 
a region as large as Continental Europe outside of Scandi- 
navia and Russia. In addition to all the strength of their 
nation the Russians had the consent and good-will of France, 
Germany and Begium, and other less important powers, and 
altogether the scheme was the greatest for the extension of 
empire that had developed for two hundred and sixty years 
in the East and could only be compared with the subjugation 
of China by the Manchus, or the exploits of the Mongol 
Khans of the Middle Ages. The power of Russian money, 
the force of Russian diplomacy, and the diplomacy of her 
allies and friends, and the demoralizing power lurking in 
preferment and decorations, as well as brute force, were all 
bent to the consummation of the Eastern Empire. All 

24 



The Russian Eastern Empire 



previous attempts to break the East, and that had been 
abortive, were insignificant to this, and nations that admit 
Russia into the realm of civilization will marvel until his- 
tory is forgotten, that when the entity of China and of 
Japan seemed conserved by them, only Russia dared by such 
a conspiracy and a shock of arms to break the Far East 
and to dissolve the ligature of strength which she appre- 
hended in Japan to be the only barrier to unlimited conquest, 
or at least a conquest which she might share with her friends 
or dispose defensively to her enemies. 

The prophecies of Germans and Britons made years be- 
fore, that Manchuria was only a base for further operations, 
were fulfilled with a force that must have been astonishing 
even to the prophets. Manchuria was only a part of an 
empire that had a virtual king, anticipating a count-ship, 
which in all probability would have been that of Port Arthur. 
While " Count of Korea," " Count of Kuang-tung," and an 
endless catalogue of titles represented the aspirations of an 
equally endless roll of supporters. The administrators of 
the Eastern Empire at Port Arthur securely controlled all 
the mainland of their empire except Korea, which they 
viewed as the theater of their only existing difficulties. Here 
were large investments of Japanese capital in the form of 
railways and shipping and other interests, and Japanese 
influence was well intrenched. 

Compared with the adventures of Russia in modern 
times Japanese adventures may be said to be recent. Thirty 
years ago the Japanese were exploring and mapping Man- 
churia in a way. There was a geographical society in Japan 
which as early as 1876 sent students to Manchuria through 
Niu-ch'uang. These students studied eagerly the foreign 
languages which they encountered there, and the making of 
maps was a qualification approved by the society which sent 
them. These preliminary adventurers were succeeded by 

25 



The Tragedy of Russia 



the promotion of trade, in which the Japanese were so suc- 
cessful in the decade preceding the war that the promoters of 
the Eastern Empire regarded themselves in a state of help- 
lessness in the effort devised by De Witte and others to com- 
pete with the Japanese as well as with other traders. This 
conclusion led the military heads of the regime of the 
Eastern Empire to declare in October, 1903, that there was 
but one course, namely, to surround the Empire with arms. 
One of Alexeieff's generals announced that Russians were 
not a commercial people and were dependent upon force of 
arms for the preservation of their interests and must there- 
fore take the region by force. 

Such in substance was the Eastern Empire. In January, 
1904, the Japanese of all classes began to withdraw from 
Manchuria. China's refusal to accept Alexeieff's new Con- 
vention of seven revolutionary demands, had, according to 
Russian logic, eliminated China from the questions affecting 
the Eastern Empire, and Alexeieff and his government turned 
their whole attention to what they believed to be the Korean 
question, upon which the Japanese permitted them to argue 
until the outbreak of the war, now imminent. 



26 



CHAPTER III 

THE CAPITAL OF CONQUEST 

THE aspect of Port Arthur, under a winter sky, was, 
at the beginning of 1904, something entirely new 
in the history of the Far East. In three months 
an army and a fleet had been assembled there, and as one 
detrained at the little station under Quail Hill from the 
Siberian Express, which lands European travelers upon the 
dock, there was such a scene of bustle, noise and flying 
steam and smoke, as to make it look like a Baltic port. The 
port of Port Arthur is small, and at that time the war- 
ships which crowded the harbor seemed to dwarf the hills 
which inclose it and towered into the sky at such close range 
that they gave one such an impression as the Cyclops might 
give if sitting in a pond with their feet against the shore — 
for Port Arthur harbor seemed a mere pond to these naval 
leviathans. 

Leaving the station one passed a pile of perhaps ten 
thousand cases of vodka on the right, and now and then 
got a glimpse of the men-of-war, leaden and black against 
the hills. The sky-line on the east, south and west could 
at a glance be seen, crenelated with barracks and forts, while 
the stranger passed through a military kaleidoscope repre- 
senting the personnel of every branch of the Russian forces, 
some afoot, some mounted, some in droshkys, and some — 
the humbler — in jinrikishas, and occasionally soldiers in 
squads and military police armed with sword and pistol. At 
the first carriage-stand my companion, who was the con- 

27 



The Tragedy of Russia 



ductor of the Siberian Express, suggested that we drop our 
jinrickshas, remarking that no one of consequence used these 
vehicles in Port Arthur, for they were only for the Chinese 
and soldiers. 

Port Arthur wore the aspect of industry and commerce 
more than of hospitality, but aside from the maintenance 
of the garrison and fleet, industry appeared by the aspect of 
the streets to be represented mostly by the commerce in 
women. Hospitality was represented co the traveler in the 
meanest hotels which it was perhaps possible to exist among 
civilized men; while the homes of the people, in which 
hospitality was a notorious virtue, were so small and inade- 
quate that it was only after long probation that the stranger 
might hope to be entertained there. As a rule, the agents of 
the railway exerted themselves in the interests of travelers, 
and the Chief of the Overland Express himself, who made 
it a point to be a " good fellow " en route, frequently accom- 
panied the stranger to an hotel or to the wretched sheds 
which bore the name. One of these, which by its utter 
abandon and wretchedness, handed itself down to immor- 
tality in an incredibly brief time, was Effiemoff's. Arrived 
one was met by the name Effiemoff — nothing more; while 
Pushkin Skaia, the street without, led circuitously on to the 
Chinese town and was longer than any of the other streets. 

The entrance to this place of Eflfiemoff looked like Dore's 
portrayal of the door of the Inferno; while the passage 
inside was as eloquent of hope abandoned as if that injunc- 
tion had been written on the lintel. To make the place more 
cryptic, and to seal it with mystery, Effiemoff — whoever he 
might be — never appeared, unless it was at the guest's 
departure. A blackboard hung in the passageway upon 
which, if one had no card to post, was written the name 
of the guest in white chalk. From this spot extended two 
hallways at right angles, down which one might call with 

28 



The Capital of Conquest 



echoing voice without being able to raise the living or the 
dead; but from somewhere would in time appear an usher 
whose spirits had themselves long ago been shamed out of 
countenance by the gloom of his guests, perhaps a young 
Chinese scalawag, such as wears his queue loose and 
unbraided at the neck and belongs to a class that in China 
are known as doubtful customers. Nothing but the pros- 
pect of personal gain tempts him to render you any service 
or to leave the mysterious haunt where he dwells. His 
employer, with true Russian indolence, first supplies him 
the example, and later, in pure admiration of his pupil's 
attainments, ever after strives but may never hope to equal 
his laziness. If the traveler looked promising and excep- 
tionally helpless, he got at last into a cubby-hole room open- 
ing from one of these hallways and containing a dirty deal 
table, an iron cot and mattress, a pitcher and a wash-bowl. 
One of these rooms might further be ornamented by a little 
chromo of some Caucasian scene, or a brilliant poster adver- 
tising American beer. There was no carpet on the floor, 
which might not have been swept for a week and never had 
been scrubbed; and the one window of double sash, facing 
the door, was hermetically sealed, so that there was no 
ventilation for at least the whole winter season. 

Travelers in the East carry their own bedding. Those 
who neglected to do this had the alternative of bribing the 
Chinese who manage such places — because they are superior 
to the Russians as managers — for bedding; and might also 
get tea, with unexcelled Russian sugar, very dirty from too 
much handling. If by any chance the traveler gave out 
money in advance he became the victim of their cupidity 
and avarice, and the only programme which he could success- 
fully execute was such as he would execute in camping out. 

One thing was required of the traveler — his passport. 
This disappeared into the interior of the establishment, from 

29 



The Tragedy of Russia 



where it was carried to the police department, viseed and 
returned, and remained in the possession of the hotel until 
the guest was expelled by the police or voluntarily departed — 
or until the guest paid his score — when it was tendered him 
along with his receipt, together with sincere affability and 
good-nature, in case the proprietor chose to himself appear. 
The tea was sloppy; the air was foul; the place was dark; 
everything was dirty; and it was not strange that travelers 
did not stay long, and that in the East Port Arthur got to 
have an unsavory name and fixed an ill-fame upon Russians 
which they do not perhaps justly deserve. It was an out- 
post raised in a day to a capital — rough, immoral, barbaric, 
weird. 

The score paid, it remained to reckon with the Chinese 
servants, whose good-will it was best to buy before your 
baggage went out of the door, where, otherwise, if you 
understood Chinese, your ears would burn with your ignoble 
pedigree, previously constructed in the coolies' quarters in the 
rear. 

" It is too bad," said my companion and guide, speaking 
of the place, " but they are all like this." This was too 
true, but one could not realize it. The prospect was so 
depressing and the fact so incredible that it aroused my 
suspicions. He was in uniform, and I am ashamed now to 
admit that his kindness threatened for a moment to be irk- 
some. It was Ringel, kind, affectionate Ringel, whom I met 
afterward at the hospital in the battle area where my 
colleague and associate correspondent, Middleton, died, and 
where he had become an unwilling and abused artilleryman. 

I stopped at Effiemoff's just long enough to call for hot 
water, which among Russians is always to be had from the 
samovar, and to shave. While I was in the midst of these 
operations a servant demanded my passport. I told him to 
wait awhile, and as I had no passport I speculated on how 

30 



Golden Hill r..rt 



flattery of 
Field i.uns 



flatten- <.f 
small £uns 

I 



Rasboymitq 
Schoolship 




Naval Barracks AlexeielFs House 

Military School Park 

Ki-kuan-shan (3% Kilometers) 



N 1 ,1 Do.k 
Shou-tzu-shan Fort (3% Kilometers) 



1 iffices of 
Tl.e Admiral of the I'ort 



[jnk Anchorage 

t Kilometeis 



Panoramic view cf Pcit Arthur taken from Ouail 11. 



icholas Bay 



Lighthouse 



Wein-Yuan 
Forts 



Torpedo 
Station 



Man-t'oii lii 
1-ortS 



Man-t'ou-shan 
Forts 



Ku Kuan shan i or! 
,1 mi u-rs high) 




Tai-ying-kao 



An izu-shan Fort 



ral Valk.iufs 
House 



Railway Station 



I-tzu-shan Fort 
(6% Kilometers) 



203 Meter Hill 



I, the center of the fortified zone, looking south 



The Capital of Conquest 



long it would be before the police arrived and carried me off 
to the station-house. When I had finished shaving I locked 
my room and, armed with a letter to a countryman, took 
refuge in his house. 

At the head of Port Arthur institutions was the Russo- 
Chinese Bank, at which all strangers had sooner or later to 
present themselves to lay in that large supply of paper rubles 
which was the " open sesame " to the Eastern Empire. This 
bank was the only foreign bank in Port Arthur and through- 
out Manchuria. It had branches in various parts of the 
world, but its methods were so primitive that it was a wonder 
to any American, or Briton, dependent upon it that his 
affairs were ever gotten through with. Its transactions were 
encumbered with a circumlocution which no Westerner could 
understand. It required not less than one hour to negotiate 
a draft on one of the bank's own branches, and it took an 
equal length of time to open an account of a few hundred 
rubles. The customer was bandied backward and forward 
from one end of the counting-room to the other, detained 
by cigarette-smoking clerks, some of them Chinese, scorn- 
ing interest in the bank's customers. 

The personnel of the bank was a motley collection of 
Russian and Chinese clerks of all sizes, who from morning to 
night fumbled among the papers, paper files, ledgers, etc., 
for something wanted. Papers, ledgers and moneys were 
contained in trays, baskets, cabinets and chests piled about 
on the floors and tables. A client watched the process of 
finding and losing checks, memorandums, receipts, orders, 
duplicates, sometimes for two hours before he would be able 
to leave the building. The employees seemed to occupy 
themselves with misunderstanding each other, talking in high 
tones " pidgin-Russian," " pidgin-English " and pure Rus- 
sian and English. If one asked if he was being waited on 
he was told that he would have to wait. If there was any 

3i 



The Tragedy of Russia 



system its only end was to prevent order and the execution 
of any piece of business promptly and in its turn. At any 
one of six desks where a deposit was received it was subject 
to misplacement and neglect. A customer always left the 
place in disgust and with a sense of great relief. 

Scarcely less famous was Saratov's, the leading restaurant, 
located in a low Chinese building facing the harbor. Dirty 
dragoons played billiards in their suspenders in the billiard- 
room and drank highly colored liquors from the zakouska 
bar in the adjoining dining-room, that looked to a stranger 
like a barber's sideboard behind a Covent Garden market 
booth, the liquors in bottles which ornamented it, gaudy as 
a rainbow. There was a glass-enclosed veranda forming a 
long breakfast room on the street. 

At one time or another everybody who had occasion to 
visit a public dining place appeared at Saratov's, and from 
generals down to the kindly and hospitable proprietor who 
met you at his door, these guests were a rich kaleidoscope 
of the agents, adventurers and hangers-on of the Eastern 
Empire. There was a dignified, quiet old gentleman, Mr. 
Balashoff, who had devoted his private fortune to the Red 
Cross, who always took his meals alone in a corner of the 
veranda, and who afterward distinguished himself during 
the siege. 

Among the adventurers out of central Asia who were to 
be seen there at intervals, there were none more picturesque 
than Gromoff. He was an immense man and wore clothes 
still more immense. On his head a vast white sheep's wool 
busby, while over his great shoulders he delighted, especially 
upon his arrival by the Siberian Express, to hang an enormous 
fur mantle reaching to his spurs. Through the cartilage of 
his nose was a hole, the history of which was known from the 
Caspian to the Chih-li Sea and throughout the entire length 
of the Siberian and Manchurian railways, and referred to 

32 



The Capital of Conquest 



an adventure in central Asia in which he had been made 
captive. 

Entrancing as was the life that centered here, the visitor 
was never able to forget the greasiness of the butter, the 
dinginess of the table linen and the slovenliness of the 
waiters. No less interesting, and probably more amazing, 
was the feminine patronage of the place. 

Leading east from Saratoff s along the Naval Basin were 
the Naval Hospital, music halls, cafes chantant, and at 
a point overlooking the naval dock was a little triangular 
park, large enough for a brass band and its audience. At 
the upper end of the park was the Viceroy's palace, cut 
off from the street by a high fence and shrubbery. In this 
place, which overlooked the bay, the fleet, the fortifications 
and the barracks of several thousand soliders, hung a pic- 
ture of Peter the Great, composed with a view of St. Peters- 
burg in one distance, and a view of Port Arthur in the other. 
This conception, devised by the municipal architect, repre- 
sented the Russian idea of an imperial domain which even 
the seas did not limit, but which they bound together. The 
palace itself was less conspicuous than a little church that 
stood on the crest of a hill behind it, and took the place of 
a cathedral until a pretentious structure deserving the name 
could be erected, together with an equally showy palace on 
the boundaries of the New Town. 

The New Town, two miles to the west, was a feature of 
Port Arthur. Its population consisted principally of soldiers 
in barracks, who were convenient to the western forts. This 
town contained some improved streets, a few business build- 
ings, and a number of homes occupied by the more fortunate 
merchants and officials. The Chinese town, a mile distant, 
joined Port Arthur on the north. As three Chinese may 
subsist upon what is wasted by one Occidental, and as many 
Chinese laborers were required on the public works, it is 

33 



The Tragedy of Russia 



possible that the Chinese town contained many tens of 
thousands. 

The leading amusement was Baroffsky's circus in a perma- 
nent building, which contained a box opposite the orchestra 
for the use of the Viceroy, and closed its performance in 
time for the opening of the cafes chantant. The circus was 
located about half way between the naval basin and the 
Chinese town, and near it was a settlement of several hun- 
dred Japanese, whose numbers dwindled with the increase 
of war's alarms. Among them were agents of the Japanese 
military and civil departments, and the Russian authorities 
at this time cited two instances of attempts by the Japanese 
to burn coal stores in Port Arthur. As a result extra guards 
were set on all military stores and a state of official nervous- 
ness existed until the Japanese were taken away in a body 
by the Japanese Consul from Chee-foo. There was a circu- 
lating library on the water front, and a reading room on 
Pushkin Skaia opposite the post-office, in which was a great 
map of the Eastern Empire and the contiguous Empire of 
Japan, but not that of China. It was visited by peasants 
mostly and mechanics. 

The telegraph offices were at the mouth of the Pushkin 
Skaia and a little farther along was the office of the Novi 
Krai, the official organ of the Government of the Eastern 
Empire, where literally clippings were made with sabers and 
paste dipped up with bayonets; and no man could indite a 
paragraph or compose a heading without his own military 
raiment, or without the presence of spurs and shoulder-straps; 
or indite a poem out of sound of the grounding of rifle butts. 

Port Arthur, with its Asiatic motley, was as fit and deserv- 
ing an object for caricature as any ever to have been found 
in America in the early days. The streets were not those 
of a modern city any more than were the buildings, which 
were those of a dilapidated Old World town. For the most 

34 













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The Capital of Conquest 



part they might have been likened to a Kansas barnyard, 
where, instead of poultry — bantams, top-knots, Shanghais — 
men of the rarest and most spectacular varieties swaggered 
about among cattle, horses, goats, geese, dust and droshkys. 
Everywhere was the new, the ungainly, unfinished, the bare, 
the noisy, and the crude; and the Occidental traveler was 
jostled by the old-fashioned idea and the new idea in the 
riotous uncontrol of primitive force. 

I had not been long in this riotous frontier capital until 
I was entertained at dinner in a Russian home. It was the 
Russian Christmas. The style was entirely Russian, as the 
host explained, in order to give an idea of what Russian food 
was like. The home was part of a converted Chinese house, 
so tiny that hospitality under the circumstances was an espe- 
cial virtue even for a Russian. The food was a la Russe, the 
conversation in the Russian tongue, and for the first time I 
had an insight into what the war feelings of the people were. 
I had the uncomfortable experience of hearing the Japanese 
disparaged and unreasonably belittled. Their achievements 
were minimized and they were bitterly reproached even to 
the glorification of the Russians. The greatness, benevolence 
and power of Russia, and the strength and glory of the 
Eastern Empire was not more emphasized than was the 
littleness, presumption and conceit of the Japanese. Three 
of the other guests were foreigners — either merchants or 
in the service of the Government, and it was not strange that 
no argument was offered against this disparagement of an 
enemy. Amid such strong defenses, under the palace of the 
Viceroy, in the capital of the Eastern Empire, under the 
shield of a great navy, equal to that of Japan, it was not 
unnatural that they should feel secure as well as superior 
to the despised little island nation six hundred miles away. 
Having campaigned with the Japanese I had never been 
able to understand the scurrilous disdain and contempt that 

35 



The Tragedy of Russia 



not only Russians, but certain other Western peoples, such 
as the French, expressed against this — the oldest military 
nation in existence. What struck the observer among the 
Russian inhabitants of the Eastern Empire was their envy 
of the political and industrial success of the Japanese Em- 
pire, and their illogical animosity to her military proclivities 
and her anxiety and keenness to fight her own battles, and it 
was easy to see that this had its origin in the apprehension 
of Japan's commercial if not military supremacy at last. 




^s> 



Cossack saddle 



36 



CHAPTER IV 

THE MACHINERY OF CONQUEST EMPIRE AT PORT ARTHUR 

PORT ARTHUR as the stage of this world drama, 
deserves more than a passing notice. 
Port Arthur is now immortal, and the name as 
that of a military capital arrests attention as the first in the 
history of a political drama in East Asia two and one-half 
centuries old. Port Arthur was itself a world drama. In 
population it consisted of the soldiers, 18,000; of the men 
on the ships, averaging 18,000; the workmen on the docks, 
2,000; and the women, of whom there was an average of 
one to each officer. Then there were those who catered to 
these, which embraced the commercial element, part of whom 
were Chinese and Japanese. Port Arthur was then the 
wonder of the East. Travelers said that nowhere except in 
America had they seen the like of such activity, though they 
did not always take cognizance that this resulted wholly 
from an expenditure of Government moneys and not from 
commerce. Port Arthur, in fact, resembled more nearly than 
anything else a section of Chicago's worst streets. In her 
mart was spent the largesse of the Government, not the fair 
gains of commerce and industrial enterprise. Like Vladivos- 
tok, it was crowded with officials, nearly wholly military, 
because it had intended to be exclusively a fortress capital. 
These officials were men acceptable to Alexeieff and gener- 
ally agreeable to the schemes and adventures of the pro- 
moters of the Eastern Empire, although there were opponents 
to the Empire's course in the service. Wiser, though per- 
haps not more honest, the first builders of Dalny and Port 

37 



The Tragedy of Russia 



Arthur repudiated the schemes of the imperial adventurers, 
even going so far as to denounce Alexeieff and retire to 
Russia. 

Supreme in point of public interest was the person and 
character of Alexeieff himself. Little was known of him 
in the East, except what was carried from Europe, until 
he became the embodiment of that power which closed 
Manchuria to travelers in the beginning of 1901. He had 
been before this commander of a small war vessel, but was 
now the king of an empire, with an army and navy, to hold 
in his grasp the alternatives of peace and war. It was told 
of him that once one of his lieutenants killed himself rather 
than be subjected to such an indomitable temper and fierce- 
ness as he possessed. This story came from the unfortunate 
man's friends. It was Alexeieff who executed the conspiracy 
of the promoters of the Eastern Empire and usurped the 
Imperial Russian Legation at Peking in 1903. It was by 
him, through his agent, that were spoken perhaps the hardest 
words ever said to the Chinese in the long history of their 
relations to foreign powers. This was when the envoy of 
the Viceroy Alexeieff told the Chinese Foreign Office that 
had refused the Convention for permanent occupation of 
Manchuria presented by Alexeieff, that they had no other 
course but to accept it, which they might do at their leisure. 

It was too short a time during January for a stranger to 
prove or disprove for himself the qualities attributed to Alexe- 
ieff or to his associates, who were at Port Arthur manipulating 
the fortunes of the Eastern Empire. Upon the eve of war he 
passed for a hypochondriac among the members of his cabinet 
and all subordinates, and it was generally believed that he 
dreaded the consequences of his own acts and feared the 
responsibilities of war into which Russia and the Eastern 
Empire were drifting. When war came he addressed the 
troops in the fortifications and made a show of courage, but 

38 



The Machinery of Conquest 



after the first attack on Port Arthur by the Japanese fleet, 
his career was like that of a disappearing meteor. Retiring 
to Mukden, where his civil domain gradually disappeared, 
he landed at last finally in a hotel in St. Petersburg. Before 
this last event he made a pilgrimage to Vladivostok to 
welcome the Port Arthur fleet, which had escaped from Port 
Arthur with the intention of joining the Vladivostok squad- 
ron. As is well known this fleet never reached its destination, 
and Alexeieff arrived at Vladivostok to attend a memorial 
service to Admiral Vitgeft, commander of the fleet, who had 
lost his life in the adventure; and on the next day to receive 
the wounded commander of the Rossia and the dead body of 
the captain of the Rurik. After these ceremonies he disap- 
peared from the East and for many months was known as 
the " Viceroy of the Hotel de l'Europe " in St.* Petersburg, 
where he eagerly questioned newspaper reporters and trav- 
elers regarding the strength of the Japanese forces before 
Mukden; and the last public record of his Eastern affairs was 
the cutting off of his viceroyal salary and his retirement as 
a member of the Council of the Empire. 

This brief history is comprised within the space of four 
years. It has been stated by Russians as one of the weak- 
nesses of the Eastern Empire that Alexeieff did not have the 
confidence of his subordinates. He was declared to be named 
and numbered for assassination by the fighting revolutionists. 
He could not be tried for his life — not being a military 
officer; oblivion was all he could expect in Russia — there was 
not even that qualified gratitude and recognition such as 
Stoessel afterward received to welcome him. 

In importance next to the Viceroy, because he was the 
commandant of the fortress, may be mentioned General 
Stoessel. Calls at his house were persistently ineffectual. 
Communications addressed to him elicited no acknowledg- 
ment, and a cabinet officer advised callers that the General 

39 



The Tragedy of Russia 



was not a wholly agreeable man and that it was generally 
best to avoid asking anything of him and to go ahead quietly 
on one's business about the city. " General Stoessel," said 
he, " does not like what the English and American papers 
say about us, and he would therefore naturally be hostile 
to you. In fact, he seldom grants any favors, even to our- 
selves." Stoessel's part was that of a man who had nothing 
to ask, for he was master of a whole fortress of guns, ammu- 
nition and barricades. 

Stoessel's place was probably with the mediaevals. He did 
not seem a man of the present age, because, perhaps, like 
many of the Russian generals, he belonged to a past military 
system and to traditions which the military history of the 
past ten years has shown to be obsolete. He boasted his 
willingness to die for the autocratic idea rather than for 
the rights of anything, and during the siege of Port Arthur 
made the moral and military error of boasting that his 
defenses would be his tomb, and then failed to justify the 
boast. The Russians in the streets and the clubs disliked 
him for his ultra-Russianism. " These Germans," said they, 
" are always more Russian than we ourselves." They said 
that he flattered the men in the ranks, that the men knew it 
and disliked him. His local ill-fame seemed to spring from 
a dislike of the German character. It is a fact that the 
Germans believe in the great destiny of the Russians, and this 
was probably the greatest fault of the German-Russians 
throughout the army, who exercised so much influence, fur- 
nished so much ability, and bore so much criticism. 

Stoessel adhered to his military calling. He personally 
dispatched the troops, which he could so illy spare, that were 
the first to reach the Yalu. He was a conspicuous figure at 
the railway station during these departures in January, be- 
cause of his size and dominating personality. His career as 
the defender of Port Arthur was regarded by the army as 

40 



The Machinery of Conquest 



creditable, though it could not forgive him for surrendering. 
Perhaps the severest indictment of the characters of the 
conspirators and promoters of the Eastern Empire is that 
made by the St. Petersburg Government in its verdict con- 
cerning him, for General Stoessel was not less incompetent, 
only more conspicuous than many others. A military court 
tried him for the offense of having surrendered a Russian 
fortress and recommended that he be dismissed from the 
army and shot. He was permitted by the Emperor to 
resign. 

Admiral Stark was the commandant of the fleet, and his 
flagship, as well as his house, was the busy theater of social 
drama. It was at his house that the reception on the occasion 
of his wife's birthday took place on the night of the first 
Japanese attack. He was a conspicuous, if not the most 
prominent, leader in Port Arthur society. The impression 
of the outside world regarding the dissipations of the fleet 
are probably justified by the numbers of petticoats that 
swarmed up the gangplanks and in the companionways, and 
by the naval debauchees left hapless on the docks because of 
a night of dissipation ashore, unable to reach their ships and 
participate in the repulse of the Japanese on the morning of 
February 9th. But it would be hard to judge the character 
of the man by the fact that in the eyes of the Government at 
St. Petersburg he was found wanting, and because he disap- 
peared from view within a month after trial. 

Of Prince Uktomsky, one of the founders of the Russo- 
Chinese Bank and author of " Russia's Mission in Asia," 
who afterward became admiral of the fleet, and of the cap- 
tains of the fleet, little was heard at that time aside from 
their social adventures. 

Admiral Witgeff, who little deserved the fate which over- 

>k him, was an agreeable and kindly man, sitting patiently 
in the Naval Office. 

4i 



The Tragedy of Russia 



Grevy, Admiral of the port, was a man whose name was 
on the tongues of all, because he held endless confabs in his 
office at the Naval Basin, with committees and councils, and 
heads of departments and merchant contractors, and had to 
do with all the privileges of the water and the water front. 
The officers who distinguished themselves in the siege, such 
as Folk and Kondratenko, had not come to light, and the 
names of some generals of land forces that participated in 
all the battles to the end of the war, were only occasionally 
mentioned. Grevy escaped from Port Arthur after the 
first attack and became the Admiral of the port at Vladi- 
vostok. 

On the front of Quail Hill was the house of Colonel 
Vershinen, Mayor of Port Arthur. The house was filled 
from floor to ceiling with relics of the invasion of China 
in 1900 which had evidently been largely collected during 
the occupation of Peking by the allies. Colonel Vershinen, 
like many Russian imperialists of the milder type, was an 
enthusiastic student of Oriental things. He was the most 
easily accessible official in Port Arthur, perhaps because he 
was interested in having a good impression of the place car- 
ried abroad. He accompanied visitors about the city to point 
out municipal improvements, which he was vainly at that 
time trying to carry on without funds, and the efforts to 
beautify the bare brown hills which load the winds with dust 
throughout the whole year. Less of an adventurer than most 
of the Czar's agents who have served in many parts of the 
Empire, especially in Central Asia and Kashgaria, Colonel 
Vershinen, the amiable, scholarly Cossack, was something of 
a student and belonged to that class of Russian officials who 
become archaeologists and naturalists. This is because the 
ancient cities embraced in the Russian Empire offer great 
opportunities for such study and give relief from the schemes 
of imperial adventure. Though he had his detractors, who 

42 



The Machinery of Conquest 



regarded him as a traitor, Alexeieff was his friend. Among 
the interesting statements which he made was that the 
authorities were anxious to prevent any convicts from the 
Saghalen penal colony from entering Port Arthur. He gave 
this as a reason why all passports were so rigorously scruti- 
nized ! There was not, he said, a single ex-convict in the city. 
Although there was an epidemic of crime at that moment 
in the Chinese city, it was, he said, owing to the lack of 
work caused by the suspension of municipal improvements. 
Although this led to the consideration of war, the point was 
carefully avoided. The Mayor was of the opinion that the 
danger of war had somewhat abated. 

Like a star resplendent in this galaxy of imperial Russian 
big-wigs, was the chief of police, who, seated in a troika, 
might be seen at a given hour every afternoon, racing osten- 
tatiously through the principal thoroughfares, dressed in a 
gray busby, a long gray military cape, sword, boots and spurs. 
His three gray horses, running like mad, careered along 
the Naval Basin, the water front, and up Pushkin Skaia to the 
circus, where they wheeled about and returned over the 
same course. Nearly every foreign visitor to Port Arthur 
at this time had more or less to do with this official, whose 
agents bulldozed and blackmailed all, even the residents. 

In Port Arthur in January merchants had staked money 
in a bet among themselves as to whether a certain young 
Jew who made it his business to secure contracts from 
Government officials would be allowed to remain in Port 
Arthur. His business was to buy and sell public officials 
of the highest rank, including generals, and his operations 
had become such a scandal that he had retired for a time 
to console himself with perhaps the most beautiful woman 
of the town. He returned, however, unmolested, and con- 
tinued his operations with success until the opening of war. 

Here was all the evidence of the sordid — men living in 



43 



The Tragedy of Russia 



extravagance in the meanest houses on riches which they 
wrung from their victims like so many tigers and wolves. 

The most distinguished merchant of Port Arthur was 
Gensberg, who, as a young man named Mess, left Russia 
to avoid military service, which as a Jew he abhorred, and 
went to Japan, where he changed his name and became a 
merchant-shipper. When Port Arthur commenced to flourish 
he removed to that place, where his talent made the firm 
of Gensberg & Co. the leading one. He remained until 
after the outbreak of the war, when his alarm took him 
all the way back to his old home. The authorities had not 
molested him — he was too old for military service — and 
in recognition of his services to the Eastern Empire, in get- 
ting in coal for the fleet, the Government forgave him and 
conferred some kind of distinction upon him, and he went 
back to his old mother in Russia. He thoroughly believed 
in Japanese success, and as he thoroughly believed in the 
approaching war, was daily alert for news of Japanese 
attack. 

One of the most startling figures among the officials of 
Port Arthur was Colonel Artemieff, editor of the official 
paper — the Nova Krai — the organ of Admiral Alexeieff 
and the Eastern Empire. The Nova Krai was the only 
newspaper in Port Arthur, and it was befitting the character 
of this organ that its editor always appeared in military 
uniform. It was the fashion in Port Arthur, as it was in 
the capitals of Europe, to make official calls in evening 
clothes. One rode out in a cold carriage, over the bleak 
hills, in a cutting wind, and kicked one's heels at a back gate 
in an alleyway while making an engagement with Chinese 
servants to meet whomsoever it was desired to see. At the 
appointed hour one entered by way of some miniature and 
mysterious storeroom or pantry, and passed through the 
kitchen and into a vestibule, there to divest oneself of heavy 

44 



The Machinery of Conquest 



garments, after which one would be ushered into some low- 
ceilinged, gloomy reception room, which at that time was 
certain to be almost filled by a Christmas tree. This was the 
situation when I called at Colonel Artemieff's house, for it 
was the Russian Christmas Day. 

The house was set in an excavation in the side of a steep 
rocky hill. When the Colonel came in he wore all of his mili- 
tary accouterments except his cap. He was a short, thickset 
man, a little pale. As he had received a letter from me he 
told me that he would do whatever he could toward 
making me known in the places where it was important 
I should be known in order to carry on my work. He 
was of opinion that if I appreciated Russian interests 
the Alexeieff government would be only too glad to have 
itself represented in the newspapers, especially through 
the Associated Press, which, he understood, used my 
dispatches. By way of filling up a pause I told him 
that there would be no difficulty on that score as I was in 
Port Arthur to conform to whatever regulations the admin- 
istration thought best to impose for its own interests. I said, 
as well, that whatever he might do for me would be appre-. 
dated. I then inquired as to the report that several war- 
ships had just left the harbor with sealed orders. He said 
that it was true, that they had gone to meet four Japanese 
ironclads that were approaching Korea and an additional 
ship, he said, was at that moment leaving Port Arthur. As 
this had but one meaning, I asked the Colonel about the 
prospect of war. He was hopeful that war could be avoided. 

It had been announced in Peking that Japan had required 
of Russia an answer to her demands by January 4th, which 
was equal in effect, according to the outside world, to an 
ultimatum. Colonel Artemieff made a comment upon this 
report which was a perfect expression of the Russian stand- 
point in the contentions which had led. to war. "Japan," 

45 



The Tragedy of Russia 



he said, " is not a country that can give an ultimatum to 
Russia, and Russia could not receive an ultimatum from a 
country like Japan." Such was the Russian view, from the 
highest to the lowest official in Port Arthur. 

Colonel Artemieff promised to send me a letter that would 
introduce me to the civil governor of the city, Grombschev- 
sky. This official received visitors between the hours of 
five and seven in the morning. As this was before dawn, 
very few people ever went to see him. Colonel Artemieff 
said he himself would be in his office in the afternoon and 
would see me there, or at his home, in the evening, in case 
of anything of importance. Many things of importance 
soon occurred, and then Colonel Artemieff considered it 
necessary to excuse himself upon the ground that he was 
serving a rival concern. 

My next call was at the house of Baron de Stuart, social 
secretary to His Excellency, Viceroy Alexeieff. It took two 
visits to find the house, which seemed at all times to be 
empty; and presumably the Viceroy's social enterprises were 
interminable. In consequence Baron de Stuart must be at 
the Viceroy's residence. The Chinese servants in the streets 
directed me, and the second day I found the house, but I 
was obliged to call again, after having taken occasion to 
leave a letter in the letter-box asking for an interview. The 
third time I called at the house, the veranda was filled with 
old newspapers, dust, feathers, and such trash as the wind 
would whirl about, while a rumpled cock and a few hens 
patroled the little yard. The scouring-soap had run from 
the brass plate where the Baron's name was posted, leaving 
a dirty residue. When I dropped my card into the letter- 
box it struck the bottom with a lonesome metallic click. This 
time I was unable to rouse any servants. I ultimately found 
the Baron, but it was after I had walked unceremoniously 
but socially into his house. Once in, I had interviews with 

4 6 



The Machinery of Conquest 



several servants and a general discussion of the Baron's 
domestic habits. The Baron himself then appeared, and 
I found him very affable and obliging so far as his power 
went, and this seemed to go just nowhere, as he was merely 
the master of social affairs. 

A little farther up the street, beyond the Viceroy's house, 
lived De Plancon, whom I had known at Peking, where he 
was charge d'affaires. De Plancon was the Viceroy's diplo- 
matic agent and secretary. I next called upon him. It was 
in the afternoon, and I found his house in a narrow, precipi- 
tous lane. I had stood several minutes ringing his door- 
bell, when he came up behind me from the direction of the 
Viceroy's palace. He recognized me at once and called me 
by name. Almost his first words were an inquiry — " You 
have come from Peking to Port Arthur because you think 
something is going to happen. But I don't think so. Why 
should there?" he went on, forcing ahead a conversation 
on his doorstep where he seemed anxious to discuss the 
whole situation, especially in relation to my presence in Port 
Arthur. I was overwhelmed almost before I could enter 
his house. He said he was glad to see me, but why did I 
think something was going to happen? There was no 
reason. Russia did not want war. Russia did not care 
what Japan did in Korea. He could see no sense — no 
reason. It was all such nonsense — such a mistaken idea — 
such foolishness. " Japan," he said, " should devote her- 
self to building up her industrial and national life, and should 
not meddle in other people's affairs. Russia had been very 
patient — magnanimous; now if Japan would not be quiet 
Russia would " — and here he brought his open hand down 
with a smashing motion — " Russia would smash her." 

This gave me a cold chill as I thought of the peaceful 
pretensions of St. Petersburg and of the Czar's professions, 
not to mention the vaunted humanity, of our times. De 

47 



The Tragedy of Russia 



Plancon then invited me in and apologized for the disordered 
condition of his house, which was being repaired, and asked 
me to sit down in his office, which was unfinished, uncar- 
peted, littered with papers, and presented an austere, tempo- 
rary aspect like a barrack room. Such were the quarters of 
most of the officials of Port Arthur. In fact they seemed 
with everything else the mere utensils of war. 

At this moment I had an opportunity to state my business, 
which was to make myself known to the proper authorities, 
for up to the present, I had had no definite idea who they 
were. I had called on a few of the lower officials, but no 
one had dared to point out the man above others to whom 
I should appeal. Here at any rate was a man near to the 
Viceroy, and to him I stated my position. De Plancon said 
he had received applications from several sources for per- 
mission to accompany the Russian forces, but, he said, with 
emphasis, u There is no reason why. There is no cause. 
There will be no war." He showed me a telegram received 
from a London news agency asking, in view of the approach- 
ing hostilities, permission for a correspondent to accompany 
the Russian troops. Underneath this message was written 
an official reply, to the effect that as hostilities were not 
expected, therefore permission to accompany the troops 
would be premature. He next handed me the card of a corre- 
spondent of a London paper, who had called upon him and 
represented himself as pro-Russian. " This is not what we 
want," said De Plancon, " we don't want a man to be pro- 
Russian, we only want correspondents to tell the truth. Only 
tell the truth." He was visibly disgusted with this corre- 
spondent and colleague of mine, whom I did not know, and 
it was evident from his manner that he had about despaired 
of meeting the kind of correspondent in whom confidence 
could be placed. 

Russians are justly suspicious of the claims of foreigners 

4 8 



The Machinery of Conquest 



to conversion to Russian ideas, for the official Russian knows 
with considerable accuracy in just what estimation he is held 
by outsiders. De Plancon talked extensively, and was one of 
the few agents of the Eastern Empire who regarded the 
affairs of that great conspiracy as possible of discussion open 
and above board. It was hard to understand, because the 
official Russian in the East is as a rule reticent on official 
matters. De Plancon was more surprising when he said that 
from him could be had the truth, and was a little staggered 
at the visible incredulity with which his remark was received. 
In Peking De Plancon had told the truth about Manchuria. 
He foretold, in general, the results of the opposition of the 
powers to Alexeieff's last demands upon China. He said 
emphatically that the fuss made by America, England and 
Japan would only make Russia sit tighter in Manchuria and 
never leave it, and that this would benefit no one but Russia, 
for which reason all the outside fuss was very foolish. At 
this time he avoided the discussion of Japan's contention about 
Manchuria and denied that Japan had any claims to make 
regarding Manchuria. Japan, said he, would be satisfied 
with whatever concessions Russia made to her in Korea. He 
enunciated that it was by agreement about Korea that peace 
would be determined. The excitement of the moment, for 
Japan was then carrying on active military movements in 
Korea, was contagious. He admitted that Japan was making 
demonstrations — demonstrations intended to scare Russia, 
he said, on the coast of Korea, and landing small bodies of 
soldiers, which was contrary to convention. " But," he 
added, " we don't want to meddle with what Japan does in 
Korea." 

As these statements and enunciations came directly from 
Alexeieff's palace, they represent the last phase of the con- 
spirators' resolution before war. They show that their 
Government was in effect awed by the realization that they 

49 



The Tragedy of Russia 



had precipitated war, and that in their first alarm they were 
disposed to retrench. In representing that there was no 
unreasonableness in the Japanese being content with conces- 
sions in Korea, the wish was undoubtedly father to the 
thought. The expressions made by this minister of the 
Eastern Empire were inspired by the rapid progress to war. 
But no Russian official in Port Arthur admitted the true 
cause of Japanese grievance. Russian pride and Russian 
arrogance would not permit it. In justice to them it must 
be said that they were aware of the dangerous nature of 
approaching events, however ill-judged were their conclu- 
sions on the outcome. The highest officials were at the same 
time very nervous about the actual outbreak and the way 
it should be brought about, and their apprehension was cer- 
tainly justified by the disgraceful manner in which they pre- 
cipitated it, and the scandalous incompetency with which 
they met it. And at this moment the high officials were 
nerving each other for the ordeal which was to introduce 
the Eastern Empire to the world. 

The Viceroy at this time was represented as being 
extremely busy and much worried, and was being constantly 
applied to by strangers for audiences. Needless to say, no 
outsiders were able to see him then or at any time thereafter 
in Port Arthur. When an American general asked for an 
interview a few days later he was told that the Viceroy was 
ill. The next report was that .the Viceroy was nervous, afraid 
of contagion, and was going about his room like a hypochon- 
driac spraying the doors and windows with eau de Cologne, 
and giving orders to the servants intended to guard the place 
from infection. These indispositions, due to the political 
situation, were soon followed by the outbreak of war. 



SO 






CHAPTER V 

FLEDGING THE EASTERN EMPIRE 

DE PLANCON had just returned from a cabinet 
meeting at which were present the generals and all 
heads of the military departments of the adminis- 
tration of Manchuria, then in Port Arthur. At this meeting 
a plan of mobilization and of military organization was 
drawn up, and lists ordered to be made of every available 
man of the organization of 80,000 reserves in Manchuria 
and of such as it was impossible to remove from civil duties. 
A few hours before 4,000 men were ordered to proceed 
northward to Liao-yang, while Harbin was selected for the 
temporary army staff headquarters. The 4,000 soldiers 
began moving the next day; some by train and some board- 
ing the transports in the bay. 

At Christmas the shops and hongs closed, most of them 
for three days' holiday. The streets were lined with flags. 
The warships in the harbor, now busy as floating ant-hills, 
both by day and by night, while coaling up and clearing for 
expected action, were decorated from stem to stern. The 
warships had been in war-paint since October, and only the 
schoolship Rasboinik, commanded by Prince Leven, and 
two or three old gunboats were still in their summer paint. 
It was apparent that the Government of the Eastern Empire 
apprehended an attack or a landing of Japanese troops while 
they were engaged in their holiday revelries. Special pre- 
cautions were in force, particularly in regard to the use of 
the harbor and the harbor entrance. Of these, shippers and 
navigators complained continually. Before January 10th 

5i 



The Tragedy of Russia 



six Japanese ships, under contract to bring coal to Port 
Arthur, canceled their contracts in Japan, where they were 
already loaded, and transferred themselves to the service of 
their Government. Japanese passenger lines canceled their 
Port Arthur sailings and their agents announced that no 
ships would take their places. It became immediately known 
at Port Arthur that all the shipping interests of Japan had 
tendered their steamers to their Government. But these, 
and other events, had not yet aroused excitement in Port 
Arthur so far as the populace was concerned. The people 
in the street knew nothing of the ultimatum that had been 
already made known in Peking, nor did they observe any- 
thing unusual taking place in the harbor. 

The day after Christmas one of the war vessels in the 
harbor shipped a small body of men and sailed for Korea, 
landing at Chemulpo. They proceeded to Seoul, against 
some opposition, it was reported, from the Japanese operat- 
ing the Seoul-Chemulpo Railway. Troops of other nations 
which, like these, were intended to guard their legations in 
Seoul, were likewise landed. Wild rumors reached Port 
Arthur to the effect that the Emperor of Korea was dead, 
and that Japanese troops had been landed at Mokpho. 

On account of the nature of events the Viceroy prepared 
to concentrate troops on the Yalu, and for this purpose sent 
a division commander there to select a site for a camp. By 
January 15th war was regarded by those heretofore doubtful 
outside of Port Arthur as a " proximate contingency." In 
the Far East it was admitted that the declaration of war by 
Japan hung upon her convictions as to her own chances of 
winning. In Port Arthur little could be learned of the actual 
state of negotiations. In the hinterland there was more 
than the usual excitement. The United States Government, 
recognizing an emergency, had exchanged ratifications of 
the American-Chinese commercial treaty with China which 

52 



Fledging the Eastern Empire 



affected Manchuria, by telegraph — an unusual proceeding. 
The Yokohama Specie Bank was withdrawing its branches 
from Dalny, Harbin, Niu-ch'uang and Vladivostok. Japan- 
ese merchants throughout the Eastern Empire were sending 
their families back to Japan, and the Japanese civil officials 
in Manchuria were in a demoralized and nervous state from 
anxiety to get their people out of the country, as well as on 
account of the demands of their Government for reliable 
information of the operations of the Government of the 
Eastern Empire. 

The Chinese Eastern Railway Company's steamship serv- 
ice in the East had now begun to feel the demoralization 
which precedes an outbreak of hostilities, and one of the 
company's steamers was already laid up at Dalny awaiting 
orders from the Viceroy, and was expecting, day by day, to 
ship troops destined for Korea, or to join the auxiliary force 
of the fleet. Its officers were entertaining their friends at 
a feast laid out in the passengers' saloon, where the ship was 
moored at the lonely pier two miles from the Dalny settle- 
ment. The place was reached by the aid of a nishvoshtik, 
or droshky, which could be hailed from the head of the 
main street leading from the hotel to the station. These 
vehicles, whose drivers were able to apprehend a fare from 
a great distance because fares were so rare in Dalny, dashed 
like mad down the windy street in a contest for the fare as 
exciting as a chariot race. In this respect Dalny was in great 
contrast to Port Arthur, where one walked to the carriage 
stand and often employed corrupt and humiliating persua- 
sion in getting a carriage. 

As with all droshkys in Manchuria, there was hitched with 
an old but still fiery mongol horse often a wild young trace- 
mate which cavorted like an unbroken mustang. With furious 
speed, threatening to plunge into passing carts, into telegraph 
poles and over declivities, it required an hour and a half to 

S3 



The Tragedy of Russia 



reach the pier and return via the streets that were laid 
out and intended to be the civil City of Dalny. One covered 
miles of streets and avenues, crossed and woven like a 
spider's web, with here and there a large showy fly in the 
shape of a prospective cafe, hotel, or, sometimes, a residence. 
They seemed very foolish flies, apparently, for Dalny, 
already widely advertised, had attracted no residents, no 
trade, and no interest, except that attached to a great example 
of erring judgment, such as has heretofore been exhibited 
principally in the new regions of America, where promoters 
attempt to set up huge cities in the wrong places. 

For an hour and a half one was snatched through this 
windy desolation of forbidding winter streets and debris, 
which might be said to have been strewn with corner lots. 
The excursion in vigor and excitement was like a flight from 
Siberian wolves. 

There was nothing to Dalny at that time except the docks, 
the official settlement, including a hotel, a small menagerie, 
a railway terminus and a native market. Upon the eve of 
the war, Dalny fulfilled the expectations of those who, visit- 
ing it for the first time, brought with them a recollection of all 
the hard things which the critics of Russia's Eastern Empire 
had said about the place. It was winter. There was no 
commerce. The harbor was half covered over and blocked 
with ice, through which the tugboats wrestled for an hour to 
reach the shore. Public improvements were suspended; 
workmen were anxious and hungry. The palms of employees 
of the Government and the railways were itching for the 
rubles of the traveler. Dalny was preparing with leanness 
and hunger for the miseries which the outbreak of war 
brought and the nearly total extinction accompanying Japan- 
ese success. 

Following the holidays there was a relaxation from the 
restrictions resulting from a fear that the Japanese might 

54 



Fledging the Eastern Empire 



take hostile advantage of the occasion. Soldiers and sailors 
were still deprived of drink, but the officers who had been 
confined to their ships again frequented the restaurants, circus 
and music halls. The Viceroy had now been " ill " for about 
a week — which being interpreted, meant that affairs had 
reached an acute stage. It was a matter of general belief 
that the Russian Government, no less than the heads of the 
Eastern Empire, had by this time become heartily sick of 
their political game and were sincerely hoping that Japan 
would by some miracle vanish from the earth, or, what 
seemed only a little more feasible, accommodate herself to 
Russia's programme. The Viceroy received only his secre- 
taries. The social functions at the palace were annulled at 
this time. One of the Viceroy's ministers thought it best to 
postpone all matters not directly affecting affairs with the 
Japanese to a more favorable opportunity, which showed that 
all business except the urgent consideration of peace or war 
had been eliminated. This minister opened some Chinese 
papers and called attention to the bias of the editors, and 
particularly to what was claimed in one of them to be an 
account of a meeting of the Asiatic Council at St. Petersburg, 
in which the Czar was made to exclaim dramatically before 
the members of the Council in regard to Manchurian matters 
and his own contention for peace: "Am I Emperor, or am 
I not? " " These words," said the minister, " are a part of 
one of Tolstoi's plays — which is their only source." 

An editorial in the same paper on " the situation " was 
based, he said, on false information — dispatches apparently 
from Japanese papers, giving fabricated particulars of acts 
of Russian aggression, which he pronounced ridiculous and 
impossible. "How can they say such things? Tell me, 
is there a single correspondent who is not in the pay of the 
Japanese? You are a correspondent — now tell me, is there 
a single one? In Russia," said he, " everything is open and 

55 



The Tragedy of Russia 



frank. There are no secrets in Russia. If you go there you 
will see it for yourself. So in Manchuria and Korea, even a 
schoolboy knows. Every one can see what is done. There 
are no underhanded schemes." 

The Nova Krai on the following day in its editorials 
took bitter exception to the articles in the Chinese papers, some 
of which were attacks of a most scurrilous nature. These 
the editor of the Nova Krai characterized as " reptilian." 
There was one article in particular which concluded with the 
prophecy that through Japan Russia would be reduced to a 
condition comparable with that which Turkey then occupied 
in Europe. These barbarous flings exasperated the long- 
suffering Russians, and the editors of the press of the Eastern 
Empire, who had generally ignored the anathema of the 
foreign press in the East, now took up the cudgels and hit 
back. Simultaneous with the " irreducible minimum " or 
so-called ultimatum, which on January 4th Japan had pre- 
sented to Russia, several war measures had been instituted 
in Japan, knowledge of which had reached Port Arthur. 
First, there was the mobilization of the merchant marine, 
including all the principal lines, namely, those reaching 
Europe, Australia and America. Second, the doubling of 
the land tax rates, providing for a revenue of 44,000,000 
yen. Third, the laying of military railways about the mili- 
tary harbors of Nagasaki and elsewhere, to facilitate military 
dispatch. A reply was made to Japan's ultimatum which was 
in substance as follows : 

1. Japan is to be accorded various concessions in Korea. 

2. Japan is allowed to deal with southern Korea econom- 
ically or strategetically as her interests may require. 

3. Russia leaves Japan full commercial freedom in north- 
ern Korea, but neither there nor in southern Korea shall 
Japan permanently occupy fortresses, whether on the coast 
or in the interior. 

56 



Fledging the Eastern Empire 



4. A neutral 50-kilometer zone shall be established on 
the Yalu and Tumen rivers, where neither Japan nor Russia 
may erect fortresses. The Straits of Korea (Tsushima) 
are to be neutral and free from Russian ships. 

5. Russia accepts no conditions in reference to Manchuria, 
but she is ready to accord Japan and other powers, repre- 
sentation for their commercial interests. 

There was a subsequent announcement that Russia was 
reported to have made some concessions in regard to Clause 
5, though insisting on the proposal contained in Clause 4. 
In Port Arthur these concessions on the part of Russia indi- 
cated that Japan had irrevocably determined upon a pro- 
gramme which did not take the further discussion of these 
matters into account. Russia renewed her assurances to the 
Powers that she would respect all rights granted them by 
China in Manchuria, as expressed in their treaties. The 
impression which the observer in Port Arthur received from 
the attitude and conduct of the cabinet and high officials was 
that the Russians had reached a mental state best expressed 
by the word " fatalism," and that while they believed that 
war was inevitable and necessary, they confidently relied upon 
the power of the Eastern Empire and of Russia. 

It was semi-officially announced in the outside world that 
the Japanese note, characterized as an ultimatum, intimated 
that no further communications would be addressed to Rus- 
sia, and that Japan would wait only a reasonable time before 
taking whatever measures she considered necessary to safe- 
guard her own interests. It was pointed out that Japan 
was unable to accept the restrictions which Russia desired 
to place upon strategic measures which Japan might propose 
to take in Korea, as well as her inability to entertain the idea 
of a neutral zone. It seemed to be perfectly plain to all 
the world that the Japanese Government kept constantly to 
the fore Japanese rights and interests beyond the Yalu. 

57 



The Tragedy of Russia 



With equal obstinacy, combined with scorn of these solicita- 
tions, Russia persisted in the sole discussion of Korean 
affairs. 

In this deadlock the following announcement was reported 
from St. Petersburg: " Alexeieff urges temporary settlement 
by diplomatic means, arguing that Russia's geographical 
position and military strength must in course of time secure 
for her the status she claims, and no artificial barrier can 
long prevent this; but her land forces, which are Russia's 
main strength, are at present insufficiently represented in the 
Far East. This once remedied would gradually solve itself 
in Russia's favor, whereas a campaign now would seriously 
check the natural course of things." 

At the end of January it was felt in Port Arthur that 
the destiny of the Eastern Empire was being manipulated by 
an evil hand in St. Petersburg. The administration in Port 
Arthur had done all the unwarlike things expected of it. It 
had carried out an overbearing policy not only toward Japan 
but toward all powers interested in Manchuria for a period 
of years, and had hectored and threatened Japan with all the 
diplomatic and military force and prestige which it could 
muster, even going so far as to enlist Russia's European 
friends in the undertaking. The announcements from St. 
Petersburg at this time were of a tenor which exactly coin- 
cided with the impression existing at Port Arthur, that the 
Government of the Eastern Empire was nervous and appre- 
hensive and loath to risk its holdings in war. At the same 
time a general had been sent to select a camp on the Yalu 
for concentrating an army, and had returned. The Naval 
Council ordered stores for immediate delivery, and the 
admirals held a council on January 20th. The army asked 
for additional horses to equip the mounted infantry and cav- 
alry, and the accumulation of war stores began. Port Arthur 
authorities confiscated horses, and women organized Red 

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I 



Fledging the Eastern Empire 



Cross schools. On January 30th an order came from St. 
Petersburg for the fleet to move out of the harbor, but owing 
to the carelessness of the Admiral of the Port the execution 
of the order was delayed until January 31st, when a cruiser 
and battle-ship moved out and would have been followed 
by the entire squadron had there been sufficient depth of 
water at the entrance. On the same day the Third Infantry 
Brigade began to entrain at the railway station and to pro- 
ceed to Liao-yang from where it was to move to the Yalu. 

The actual provisions for war in the Eastern Empire were 
considerable. Vladivostok, Port Arthur, Dalny and the Kin- 
chou Isthmus were fortified and a fleet in military readiness 
was scouting the waters of all the seas and harbors, including, 
of course, those of Korea, where a squadron made its ren- 
dezvous at Chemulpo to awe and guard the Korean capital. 
The whole of Korea north of Ping-yang had been explored 
and mapped during the summer by Colonel Madridoff, who, 
according to General Ian Hamilton, was known to the 
Japanese as " Matoriroff." A scheme of defense of the 
Empire was in existence and the plan of fortifying the Yalu 
was in operation. Mobilization of the army was in progress 
and a comprehensive plan of campaign was in process of 
evolution. 

At this time the reports of the concentration of Russian 
troops that circulated in the outside world were, naturally, 
greatly exaggerated; but one could get a good idea of what 
the increase of the military forces were by contact with the 
traffic on the railway. Winter railway travel in the Liao- 
tung Peninsula, especially by the Siberian Express trains, was 
nearly luxurious. The passengers were almost wholly, by 
this time, Russian officers, who talked much in praise of the 
New Empire and in particular of the cities of the Kuang- 
tung Peninsula, and the improvements visible from the car 
windows. They were proud of the military roads about the 

59 



The Tragedy of Russia 



Bay of Ta-lien and the fortifications at Kin-chou, where the 
Isthmus was so narrow that gunboats could fire from shore 
to shore. At this time there was a good deal of travel by 
the officers of the Third Brigade, who were transferring their 
bivouac from Port Arthur to Liao-tung and the Yalu. A 
young officer of sharpshooters, native of one of the Baltic 
provinces, not over twenty-four years of age, possessing a 
large beard, an immense stature, and wearing a long felt 
overcoat and a big sword dangling from his shoulders, made 
amusing comments upon the country. He remarked that 
the arrival of the railway train was an even greater event in 
the lives of the Chinese peasants, who stood in little crowds 
about the stations, than such an event could be to the peasants 
of Russia. Pointing out the long lines of fortifications about 
Kin-chou, where troops were maneuvering in the sunshine 
and where gangs of coolies were even at that time building 
breastworks out of the frozen earth, he gave an account, as 
he remembered from the histories of the affair, of the engage- 
ments which the Japanese troops had in that vicinity in 1895, 
when they took the region from the Chinese and captured 
Port Arthur. Inspired by the thought of war, his youthful 
imagination carried him into an enthusiastic discussion of 
the army and the camp. His faith and credulity were 
immense. Influenced by the rumors of the moment he 
believed that 100,000 men were about to join the Russian 
army in Manchuria, one half of whom, in his imagination, 
were marching overland to Manchuria, the other half coming 
by train. But, although he had only a confused idea of the 
movement of the troops, his knowledge regarding the mobili- 
zation of troops at Hai-ch'eng and Liao-tung, where, it had 
been repeatedly reported, there were four to six thousand 
soldiers, was correct. He said there were not more than 
three thousand. 

The railway was not yet under the control of the military 

60 



Fledging the Eastern Empire 



organization, and the military forces which it was desired 
to concentrate in the vicinity of the Liao-yang, where the 
headquarters of the commander-in-chief of the land forces 
was to be established, were insignificant. 

It was in this particular — namely, the possession of a 
movable army with military stores, that the Eastern Empire 
was delinquent and unprepared for a campaign. The accu- 
sation that the Russian policy in the Eastern Empire was 
based simply upon " bluff " does not seem to be justified by 
the facts, and it is certain that by spring Russia would have 
been amply prepared, according to her own ideas, for a 
campaign against Japan. 

A cavalry, artillery and infantry force was en route from 
Liao-yang over the Feng-huang-ch'eng road for the Yalu 
to meet the threatened invasion by the Japanese from Korea. 




Incident of the march to the Yalu 



61 



CHAPTER VI 

THE EMPIRE ATTACKED 

A T Port Arthur, which was originally intended to be 
J—\ exclusively a fortress, the military management had 
-*- -"* been greatly modified by the necessities of commerce. 
When it was found that the trade of the port could not be 
diverted to Dalny a modification of fortress regulations was 
made to provide for civil and commercial interests and for a 
city. The prospects of war were now so far realized that 
military law began to be supreme. There was, however, a 
curious indecision on the part of the authorities and confu- 
sion regarding the control of local affairs. Especial respon- 
sibility rested upon the police department, whose business 
it was to keep the fortress clear of suspicious persons, but 
as it is the policy of official power among Russians to rely 
upon terrorism, this department was characterized by great 
incompetency, for the city was the rendezvous of Japanese 
agents as late as February 20th, twelve days after the open- 
ing of hostilities. 

The presence of correspondents in Port Arthur had by 
the first of February begun to irritate some of the officials, 
and especially members of the fleet, where there were many 
who intelligently dreaded the future. Three war corre- 
spondents of foreign nationality had taken up their residence 
in the fortress city, and Port Arthur was visited almost daily 
by correspondents from Chefoo. By those who dreaded the 
future, they were, as a class, regarded as harbingers of war 
and looked upon as vultures hovering over prospective 
carrion. 

62 



The Empire Attacked 



As the days passed by, one met with curious sensations 
the quizzical gaze of Russians, who, confused by conflicting 
rumors and not knowing upon what information to rely, got 
their fears from the conviction that correspondents were 
fixtures and could not be scared away. As a precaution, the 
press was denied the use of the telegraphs. There was no 
censorate, although it was indicated that press messages hav- 
ing the approval of General Pflug, the Viceroy's Chief of 
Staff, would be accepted at the telegraphs. He could never 
be found, and telegrams could be transmitted by ship to the 
opposite shore of the Gulf of Pechili quicker than through 
the press machinery of Port Arthur. 

The otherwise uncommon fascination of life in Port 
Arthur for the stranger and correspondent now began to 
be irksome. The police began to annoy them by frequent 
arrests and detentions in the police station where so-called 
revolutionaries and members of the Japanese communities, 
suspected as spies, and drunken workmen constituted their 
associates, while they awaited the return of the good- 
natured Caucasian chief of police from one of his showy 
parades through the city streets. 

The correspondents who had been in the habit of meeting 
at Saratoff's to drink tea out of glasses and to participate in 
the discussion of the situation that went on there, broke up, 
because correspondents were now regarded as spies. " You 
are a correspondent? " asked of one was spoken as though 
of something to be avoided. If one answered in the affirma- 
tive it was followed invariably by the ominous words, " It 
will be hard! " and seemed to suggest the gallows. 

On the third of February, while walking on the water 
front, I noticed that I was being followed by a little officer, 
the upper part of whose face was entirely hidden by his 
busby, who, after about ten minutes, during which time he 
seemed to be making up his mind, invited me to go with him. 

63 



The Tragedy of Russia 



He made no further explanation, but insisted that it would 
only take a few moments. I consented. He called a carriage 
and drove me to a stairway which led up into the narrow 
streets behind the telegraph department on Quail Hill. He 
led me through the narrow alleyways and passages, through 
courts into a barrack and at last brought me into the back 
room of a building occupied by soldiers. He first led me 
through a room where soldiers were having their mid-day 
meal, ushered me into a place that looked like a sleeping 
room, placed a guard on the door and invited me to sit 
down beside a table where maps and papers were lying and 
upon which he brought down his fist with several loud 
thumps. He immediately went out. 

I was in the custody of the police, and awaited with 
considerable curiosity as well as apprehension the outcome 
of the adventure. Within five minutes the man came back 
and said that he had expected to have a witness and an 
interpreter, but that he could not get them, and he invited 
me to return to the water front, which I did. Here he 
explained that I tallied with the description of an English- 
man whom he had been ordered to arrest for making photo- 
graphs at the railway station the day before. I saw that he 
was in considerable doubt, so I explained to him that it was 
his business to know exactly who I was, because my card 
was up in my hotel. He apolpgized and offered me a cigar, 
which I took. He walked a little farther down the street 
and held an animated conversation with some one whom I 
took to be another secret service official, and fearing that he 
would reconsider his decision, I stepped quickly into his 
carriage, which was one of the public droshkys, and drove 
away. It was the first of a series of arrests continuing until 
all civilians were expelled from Port Arthur. 

There was no appreciable decline in the patronage of the 
cafes chant ant nor in that of the circus, but in Pushkin 

6 4 



The Empire Attacked 



Street, the main thoroughfare, the performers of the circus, 
as well as the tenants of the resorts of Port Arthur, could 
be daily met with, eagerly seeking the latest rumor. Then 
came a time when the official patronage of the circus began 
to decline, and it was indeed time to take warning. But 
Baroufsky's confidence in the Eastern Empire was so com- 
plete that he remained to see his fine performing horses 
confiscated for the cavalry and his acrobats impressed as 
droshky drivers. His alarmed lady acrobats, inquiring for 
news, was one of the sights of the Pushkin Skaia on the eve 
of the attack. 

The fleet was anchored in Port Arthur Bay, outside the 
harbor, where a certain amount of maneuvering was going 
on. About this time it disappeared for a day, causing a 
flutter of excitement; it seemed to be leisurely preparing 
for hostilities, which it held in its own control. It was not 
unusual to see a squadron outside, but it was to be expected 
that unusual precautions existed for its safety, such as would 
be taken in actual war. The contrary was the case. On 
the eve of the Japanese attack upon this fleet the writer rowed 
at dusk with a Chinese coolie through the fleet without 
being seriously challenged. It was a typical clear winter 
evening of North China. The band on the Czarevitch was 
playing and the seamen were singing their evening hymn. 
We passed under the bow of one of the smaller cruisers, 
and near the upper limits of the anchorage counted fourteen 
cruisers and battle-ships. Returning by dark, one of the 
cruisers was seen flashing electric signals and three or four 
searchlights were fixed upon the water. Inside the harbor 
could be seen the lights of the New Town and the guide 
lights on Quail Hill, which point out the channel. The 
city itself was dark, but this was principally because there 
had never been any system of lighting other than a few oil 
lamps placed at long distances on the crooked streets. On 

65 



The Tragedy of Russia 



the bund in front of Saratoff's there had now, within a few 
days, been accumulated an enormous pile of coal, for the coal 
docks inside Golden Hill were full. The fleet of small 
Norwegian commercial steamers, seven in number, that had 
been almost driven out of business on the China coast by the 
Japanese and German vessels, had, since the withdrawal of 
Japanese shipping from Port Arthur, been engaged to hurry 
coal to Port Arthur. 

The war preparations of the Eastern Empire at this time 
were frantic. The Admiralty was not only piling coal on the 
bund but in the rocky crevices of Quail Hill near the railway 
station. At the same time two English tramp steamers had 
arrived with coal cargoes, and their agents and the agent of 
the Norwegian vessels were conferring from dawn until late 
at night with Alexeieff's agent, Mr. Gensberg, with a view 
to anticipating the declaration of war in time for their ships 
to reach neutral waters. There were so many rumors of war 
that when on the night of February 8th the inhabitants, return- 
ing late to their homes, heard from their doorsteps shots in 
the roadstead, they went quietly to bed and slept soundly until 
morning. 

Near midnight on the eighth of February, while writing 
out dispatches, I heard a succession of shots and stepped out 
of my door into the upper end of Pushkin Street. The 
firing continued for several minutes. As the fleet had been 
nightly carrying out exercises, the city was undisturbed 
by the incident. Most of the inhabitants of Port Arthur 
heard the same shots and remained unconscious of their 
significance until the ninth, for it had not been believed that 
the first, or for that, matter, any attack, would be made 
at Port Arthur. 

At 1 1 : 45 P.M., February 8, 1904, the battle-ships Czare- 
vitch and Retzvisan and the cruiser Pallada were successfully 
torpedoed at their anchorages by a hostile torpedo fleet, and 

66 



The Empire Attacked 



were soon sinking so rapidly that it was with difficulty their 
machinery was put in motion and they were run across 
the harbor entrance and grounded on Tiger's Tail. On 
the Czarevitch were three French engineers who, according 
to their own confession, had previously resolved to quit the 
ship whenever it seemed likely that she would go into action. 
11 For," said they, " the officers in charge did not understand 
her and could not be relied upon in case of battle." These 
men left the ship immediately she was torpedoed and hurried 
to a hotel, where they related their adventures to a country- 
man. They supplied the first intimation to the citizens of 
Port Arthur of the opening of the war. 

By eight o'clock on the morning of the 9th the appear- 
ance of three men-of-war ashore at the Tiger's Tail had 
brought the people to their doorsteps. A few, roused at mid- 
night, had spent all the hours until morning in the streets. At 
dawn the news spread like wildfire. Any boy on the street 
could tell the names of the ships. Neaudeau, the French 
correspondent, was on the bund, his eyes coal-blackened — he 
had been up all morning and night. He had advised the 
engineers of the Retzvisan, who had awakened him as soon 
as they could get ashore, not to speak much of their deser- 
tion of the fleet, as it was not very creditable to them. Peo- 
ple fell into little groups, and where we stood talking, an 
English correspondent stepped up with an air of great impor- 
tance and declared he had been on an elevation east of 
Golden Hill during the whole incident of the night ! 

The wounded from the disabled vessels were being brought 
ashore and carried into the naval hospital, and a crowd had 
gathered in front of Saratov's and was discussing the situ- 
ation. Among them were some French sympathizers who 
remarked that this adventure by the Japanese was very 
clever, even magnificent, but could hardly be said to be in 
accordance with the modern spirit of warfare, when a lapse 

67 



The Tragedy of Russia 



of forty-eight hours was considered an essential between the 
declaration of war and the commencement of hostilities. 
This view was assented to by some Russians present, and 
later in the day was asserted by a captain of one of the 
warships. 

Admiral Alexeieff, when told that three ships had been 
sunk, was reported as exclaiming, " Impossible! " but now 
he went to the batteries on Golden Hill and addressed the 
gunners there. At 10:30 members of his cabinet, and the 
generals, mounted on horses and in full uniform with their 
orderlies, paraded the streets, evidently with the intention 
of inspiring confidence among the populace and creating the 
impression that the events which were taking place were 
anticipated with confidence and were being carried on under 
the direction of the authorities. Among the horsemen were 
General Krastilinsky, De Plancon, the diplomatic secretary, 
and Colonel Vershinen, the mayor. Alexeieff and Stoessel 
were at the sea batteries. It became known that the Japanese 
fleet had been sighted off Dalny, and the people began to 
anticipate greater events, but it was still almost incredible 
that the Japanese would make an attack with their larger 
vessels upon Port Arthur by day. The three vessels helpless 
at the harbor entrance were the center of interest and were 
being visited by small boats and lighters, and an attempt was 
already being made to close the breaches made in them by the 
Japanese torpedoes. 

At ten minutes past eleven, when I was in a sampan in the 
middle of the harbor, making my way to the scene, a shell fell 
into the water just ahead of me, throwing up a great spout 
of water, and the crack of numerous other shells announced 
the arrival of the enemy outside. In a few moments, be- 
fore it was possible to return to the shore, ships in line 
of battle could be seen through the harbor entrance a few 
miles out. A few shells dropped into the west harbor, near 

68 



The Empire Attacked 



two Russian cargo vessels, one of which, the Sungari, had 
taken refuge there only that morning, having escaped from 
Dalny. A shell fell inside the Tiger's Tail, near the trans- 
port Kazan, and another at the torpedo boat station, near the 
center of the harbor, where there was a great clattering and 
escape of steam, as though some of the belated torpedo boats 
were trying to get into action. With the shells spouting 
water in the harbor and clouds of smoke arising from the 
forts at the harbor entrance, where the guns had now gotten 
into action, the spectacle reminded me of the pictures I had 
seen of naval engagements of the time of the American 
Civil War. 

At the little iron dock under Quail Hill were two young 
naval officers, whose appearance indicated that they had 
spent the night in dissipation. They were on their way 
to join their ships, but were too late. They were reticent 
and ashamed. We were directly in the line of firing, oppo- 
site the entrance of the harbor, and I mounted Quail Hill 
just behind, so that I might have a better view. The last 
I saw of these young officers they were standing on the pier 
gazing out to sea. 

It was a brilliant sunny day, and just before the attack 
Port Arthur was, for the first time since it had been con- 
verted into a foreign possession, awed and still. It could 
be seen that the groups of men and women along the water 
front had dispersed, and a few vehicles were racing along 
the bund to escape up Pushkin Street and into the rear of the 
town. Near the first guide light to the harbor, on Quail 
Hill, was the house of General Valkauf, above which it was 
possible to get a view of the entire region spread out in one 
great panorama. Several shells struck this hill, sending up 
such showers of small stones and earth that several times I 
was obliged to take refuge behind a stone wall which enclosed 
General Valkauf's house. A large shell struck near the 

6 9 



The Tragedy of Russia 



Russo-Chinese Bank, shattering all of the windows in the 
vicinity. On the left, the portico of a house was blown 
away, and Manmantoff, a Russian cavalry officer, tempo- 
rarily acting as a correspondent, was wounded. Fragments 
from the explosion grazed his temple, cheek and nose. 
Within fifteen minutes the harbor entrance was hazy with 
smoke, through which a small steamer, which was afterward 
found to have been the Columbia, was seen making its way 
outward, disappearing finally behind the west headlands. The 
guns at the stern of the Retzvisan had begun to fire with 
such energy that clouds of smoke rolled off them and up the 
bluff, where it joined the smoke of the Wei-yuen forts. An 
explosion as of a magazine occurred on the Tiger's Tail 
Peninsula in the west bay. On the left, in front of the 
Golden Hill forts, occurred an explosion even more vast, 
indicating clearly that a magazine had blown up near what 
was known as the " electric cliff." The forts, as well as 
the Retzvisan, seemed to be using black powder, for a heavy 
cloud of smoke now joined the headlands at the entrance, 
and it was necessary to go lower down on the side of Quail 
Hill in order to see beyond the harbor entrance. The line 
of battle could no longer be seen. About fifteen shells fell 
in the city and harbor, explosions from which, mingled with 
the heavy roll of the Russian guns, gave the battle the 
semblance at intervals of a great cannonade. A terrorized 
woman fled through the narrow alleys on the face of Quail 
Hill, seeking her children, and a great crowd swept up 
Pushkin Street, out in the direction of the race course. At 
1 1 : 45 the firing ceased, having lasted thirty-five minutes, 
and when the smoke cleared nothing was to be seen of the 
enemy, who had slowly withdrawn to sea. All the town 
on the water front was deserted, while the streets were strewn 
with merchandise that had fallen off escaping cargo trucks. 
There was an unexploded shell lying against the base of Quail 

70 



The Empire Attacked 



Hill that attracted a crowd of spectators later in the day. 
The water front was more quiet and deserted than if it 
had been Sunday. The employees of the commercial offices 
had fled. At the bank large sums of money disappeared 
when the clerks decamped. There was one shipping office 
where the managers vied with each other in rifling the funds. 
It was hard to conjecture where all these people went, seeing 
that one place was no more safe than another. 

One of the first things done in the early morning was the 
issuing of an order by the commander of the port, forbidding 
any foreign vessel to leave the harbor. There were several 
merchant ships of different nationalities, therefore, impris- 
oned there; the most important of which were the British 
coasting ship Wen-chou and the British tramp ship Foxton 
Hall, which had brought in a cargo of coal. This vessel was 
deserted by the captain and crew, and remained several days 
unclaimed. The little passenger boat Columbia, which was 
anchored outside, had sailed away during the attack unmo- 
lested. 

The merchant population began to seek means of escape, 
and there was a continual line of sampans carrying refugees 
from the bund to the Wen-chou, where they swarmed up 
the gangway and begged the captain to take them away. 
One merchant ship endeavored to get released and threatened 
to sail in defiance of the orders given it to remain. 

Among the ships of war lying inside the harbor that 
took no part in the fight was the Rasboinik, used as a school- 
ship, and in command of Prince Leven. The Rasboinik was 
lying between the coal docks and the harbor entrance, where 
could be observed all that took place in the offing. From 
this ship could be watched the feverish work of the salvage 
vessels gathered about the Pallada, Czarevitch and Retz- 
visan. Wounded men were being taken off these vessels and 
brought into the naval hospital. Officers of the Rasboinik 

7i 



The Tragedy of Russia 



brought pieces of the Japanese torpedoes aboard, and they 
had part of a torpedo-firing gear which had been found 
washed up on the shore. A launch from the Petropavlovsk 
was credited with having first apprehended the Japanese 
torpedo boats in the night, but was unable to alarm the fleet. 
Both the Askold and Pallada claimed to have first opened 
fire upon the Japanese in the night, and the testimony of the 
captain of the Pallada showed that not only these vessels of 
the fleet, but the signal station on Golden Hill were aware 
of the presence of vessels whose signals they did not 
understand. The Japanese advanced, showing white above 
red lights, such as were used by the Russian warships when 
entering the harbor. An officer who saw these lights con- 
fessed he was deceived by them and thought that they were 
Russian torpedo boats returning from Dalny. The Japanese 
torpedo boats were recognized by their funnels, which were 
in pairs amidships, and this was the signal to open fire. 
The Czarevitch and Retzvisan, which were in the upper line, 
opened the fire along with the Pallada. The Japanese tor- 
pedo boats, which seemed to have approached from the south- 
west, after discharging their torpedoes, withdrew at full 
speed. 

While I was talking with Prince Leven early in the after- 
noon the battleship Czarevitch was got off, and pulled into 
the harbor by tugs. She was ( a sad spectacle. She had the 
most powerful defensive system of any ship in the fleet of 
the Eastern Empire. As she passed the Rasboinik, listing 
heavily to port, her steel masts and funnels tilted about fifteen 
degrees, she looked an enormous hulk. The band was play- 
ing on board and all hands were on deck and in the fighting- 
tops. The sailors cheered and were answered by the men 
on the Rasboinik, who had mounted the rigging, and also by 
the artillerymen in the fortifications on Golden Hill, whose 
cheers could be heard like a distant echo. The officers of 

72 



The Empire Attacked 



the Rasboinik, who stood on the bridge with Prince Leven, 
seemed in a quandary and looked first at the passing warships 
and then at the men, who in fact did not seem to know why 
they were cheering. The crew of the Czarevitch was so 
near that it looked as though one might pluck a sailor from 
the upper structure. It was a wonderful sight. She was 
towed into a place opposite the bund and anchored. Follow- 
ing her came the Novik, under her own steam, with a hole 
in her starboard water line aft beside the officers' quarters. 
She, too, had a list and was cheered by the men on the gun- 
wale as she went by, and indeed was the only disabled ship 
that deserved a cheer, since she had just returned from a 
gallant attack on the Japanese fleet. One of the Chinese 
Eastern Railway steamers was assisting the tugs and lighters 
with the Retzvisan, but were unable to get her off, and she 
lay on the rocks there for more than a month. The Pallada 
was floated much earlier. 

Some civilians who had arrived at the entrance to the 
harbor as the day-battle commenced, had now been brought 
into the harbor and said that the Japanese fleet had fired 
the first shot from such a distance that their ships could 
not be seen, but immediately afterward a warship hove in 
sight and turned, followed by six other ships in line of battle. 
They were unable to count a larger number than this before 
the smoke obscured the view, though at least sixteen large 
vessels were represented in the Japanese fleet. 

It was agreed at the time among the military that the 
action by the Japanese was a reconnoissance in force. It was 
regarded as remarkable and admitted to be a great surprise 
by the Russians and to be worthy the ancient sailor stock of 
Japan. 

The beginning of the unlooked for disasters, which only 
ended in the destruction of Rodjestvensky's fleet, had com- 
menced. It is an interesting fact that in conversation aboard 

73 



The Tragedy of Russia 



one of the large men-of-war some days before these events, 
one of the officers declared that the officers of the fleet knew 
well what the result would be when the fleet encountered the 
enemy. The Russian fleet, when this first trial came, 
remained for the most part under the guns of the fortifica- 
tions, which fired over them, while the disabled vessels on 
Tiger's Tail, with such guns as could be sufficiently elevated, 
participated in the defense, themselves firing over the main 
body of the fleet. The dispatch boat Novik advanced close 
enough to the Japanese fleet to fire several torpedoes, and 
received a shot on her water line which let in the sea and 
forced her to retire to the shelter of the harbor. The cap- 
tain of the Baian distinguished himself for boldness by leav- 
ing the line of battle and taking part in the fight at closer 
range. 

In the afternoon of the 9th the restaurants, except Sara- 
toff's, were open and running. The history of the night of 
February 8th was discussed everywhere. The appearance of 
naval officers ashore during the battle, and the knowledge 
of Madame Stark's reception, which had hardly closed before 
the Japanese torpedo boat attack, was sufficient in that com- 
munity, where scandal was perpetual, to inspire the severest 
criticism. It was not true that many high officers were 
ashore during the torpedo attack, and Admiral Stark, com- 
mander of the fleet, as well as Prince Uktomsky, second in 
command, were aboard ship by morning, but it was known 
that the fleet had but one line of patrol boats three miles 
out, where they should have had three lines, the farthest 
twenty miles from the fleet. It was believed that no pre- 
cautions had been taken against attack and that not more 
than two or three searchlights were in operation. 

At the time of the attack by the Japanese torpedo boats 
it was said that the chief of police was anathematizing his 
nishvoshtik in front of his house opposite the Viceroy's pal- 

74 



The Empire Attacked 



ace, and that this was a fair example of the vigilance of the 
official element. The people toward evening had returned 
to their houses, some of the more panic-stricken packed a few 
goods, and as they could not escape by boat went to the railway 
station, where they crowded into the railway trucks in the hope 
of being taken away. Many were in a helpless condition, 
unable to make up their minds what it was best to do. Nearly 
all the foreign homes employed Chinese domestics, who had 
fled. When night came the city was without lights, they had 
been forbidden. In the streets at all hours could be met 
refugees with their luggage, assisted oftentimes only by a Chi- 
nese coolie and a jinrikisha, for it was not possible to have a 
nishvoshtik at any price, making their way to some point on 
the railway, either at the city station or at the race track. 
Wounded men and the sick were heard moaning as they were 
carried along in the darkness, when it was impossible to find 
out who they were. 

All communication by sea was cut off, but the railway 
was in regular operation. The trains departed loaded with 
refugees, and were so beset by all classes that certain trains 
were set aside for the exclusive use of women and children. 
At Nanghalen, where the Dalny and Port Arthur branches 
of the railway unite, there was a crowd for several days, 
and here could be witnessed the spectacle of the mercantile 
classes who had waxed fat upon the military, striving with 
the poor peasant workmen and their families in the most 
ignoble flight. Some of them would long ago perhaps have 
quit Port Arthur had they not been misled by the persua- 
sions of the military, who made use of them. It was cold, 
and the trains were so packed that men were sleeping in the 
baggage racks. 

The military authorities declared a state of war and 
issued orders prohibiting any south bound passenger traffic. 
Civilians were expelled from the fortress, and a gradual 

75 



The Tragedy of Russia 



exodus to the north of Port Arthur depopulated both that 
city and Dalny. A declaration of war by Japan was for- 
mally made and was soon afterward followed by a similar 
document by Russia, and the great aim of the conspirators 
was reached. 



H,eBT> He XBaTHTB HE KpOBH, HH 

ReHerB, hto6m ,n,o6HTBca bb 
■qymofi 3eMjrk KaKoro-jindo 
ycirfexa. HepBoe-ace nopameme 
BBi30BeTi> CTpamHyK) peaicryK) 
BB HacejieHin MOJio^oro rocy* 
,n,apcTBa, ' Hanparmaro Tenept 
cboh; nocjrfe,a,Hia chjih, h 6jiaro- 
CJiOBema cm^hatch hpokjihti- 

&MH. 

Ho RJia Jlnomn He noTepa- 
Ha em,e B03MomHocTB BepnyTB- 
ca kb SjiaropasyMiio; OTBiT- 
Haa pyccKaa HOTa otb 24-ro 
aHBapa OTKpBLBaeTB en nyTB 
B3aTB Ha3a,o,B cboh pncKOBaH- 
hbih marB. By^eM'B Ha^iaTBca, 
■«ito 6naropa3yMHBie coBferBi 
HeHTpanBHBix'B ^epacaBB npn- 
Be^yrB B03HHKinee ocjio^KHeme 
kb SjiaronojiyHHOMy KOHiiy. 

Extract from the Novi Krai of January 27th, 1904. With what was fine 
irony in the face of stern fate this paper printed, on the morning of the battle 
when the Czarevitch, Retzvisan and Pallada were helpless on the rocks, these 
words: "It is not too late for Japan to take back the fatal step." 



76 



CHAPTER VII 

THE WAR SITUATION 

THE administration of the Eastern Empire had 
been found unprepared for the outbreak of war. 
The Government at St. Petersburg was at the time 
still sending instructions to Port Arthur for demonstrations, 
which it was vainly expected would continue to influence the 
Japanese, but which only succeeded in throwing dust in the 
eyes of its own military at Port Arthur. Within four days 
the intricate structure of the Viceroyalty was paralyzed, and 
the civil and industrial forces turned to the use of those 
whose purpose was to extinguish Japan as the first necessity 
of the Eastern Empire. 

On the morning following the battle the Nova Krai, 
Viceroy Alexeieff's official newspaper, contained an editorial 
upon the attack which, considering that two Russian battle- 
ships and a cruiser were hors de combat and in all probability 
rendered useless for the rest of the war, and one cruiser and 
a gunboat destroyed at Chemulpo, concluded with what were 
very remarkable words : " It is not too late for Japan to 
take back the fatal step." This indicated as much as any- 
thing could the ghastly Russian perfidy and as much perhaps 
as anything else the apprehension and indecision which the 
Viceroy had developed at the last moment, as well as the 
aversion of the local military to war, while in it was couched 
the anxiety of both Port Arthur and St. Petersburg for a 
part of the naval forces absent from, or en route to Port 
Arthur. 

77 



The Tragedy of Russia 



The fleet of the Eastern Empire was divided. Four 
cruisers were at Vladivostok; one cruiser and a gunboat were 
at Chemulpo; while a military transport loaded with valu- 
able ammunition and helpless against attack, was off the 
China coast. It has been said that the precipitation of war 
by the Japanese was at this particular time accidental and 
came about through a press telegram from London contain- 
ing false information regarding the military plans of Russia. 
If so, the decision of the Japanese Government came at a 
fortunate moment. The Russian fleet was scattered. 

It has been seen that the Eastern Empire regarded its 
quarrel with Japan as being in Korea, and Russian opera- 
tions there fully establish the responsibility of the Eastern 
Empire in bringing on war and its full appreciation of what 
it was doing. As far as Korea was concerned, the acts of 
Russian agents had proved to the Japanese a year before 
that a peaceful solution there was hopeless. But it was 
after this that the conspirators of the Eastern Empire secured 
the Yalu River lumber concession (beginning of 1903) 
secretly and irregularly, and followed this with obtaining the 
use of the port of Yongampo, which constituted a foothold 
upon the soil of Korea, which other powers were denied. 
The combined influence of America, Great Britain and 
Japan could not secure the same rights against Russian 
intrigue, nor could they prevail against Russian influence in 
an attempt at opening Wiji farther up the river as a compro- 
mise. Such evidence of the intentions of the Eastern 
Empire could not further convince, but further hastened 
Japan toward war. 

In the summer, when the text of the Yangampo Agree- 
ment came into the possession of the Japanese and when 
the Russians had constructed factories and depots at Yan- 
gampo — which they had renamed Port Nicholas — Japan 
began preliminary war preparations in Korea. As in Man- 

78 



The War Situation 



churia, the Japanese bankers began to close their business. 
The first of the year 1904, when the Eastern Empire had 
virtually surrendered negotiations with Japan to the St. 
Petersburg Government, which divided the negotiations with 
them, the Japanese were converting the Seoul-Fusan Rail- 
way into a line of military communications, building relay 
stations for the provisioning of troops. These facts were all 
known in Port Arthur, but were regarded as the experimental 
operations of an incompetent power. Although a Japanese 
general, Ijichi, had now arrived as military attache at 
Seoul, the fact did not seem to arouse the Russians, because 
to them all ranks were the same in a nation which they 
despised. At the same time the Russians were aware that 
Korea was naturally the road by which the Eastern Empire 
would be invaded and attacked. 

In January the foreign powers, as much because of doubt 
as to the real situation as of understanding of it, landed 
troops to protect their legations in the capital. On January 
2 1 st the Emperor of Korea issued a proclamation of neu- 
trality which created a sensation. It could not be disguised 
that this was the work of Russian agents, headed by Pavloff, 
and it had a peculiarly absurd aspect, because it preceded by 
more than a fortnight any declaration of war or any act of 
hostility. It was clearly intended to embarrass the Japanese 
in their military operations on Korean soil and in Korean 
ports. The Japanese were the first to land an avowedly hos- 
tile force of any dimensions in Korea, but they were by no 
means the first offenders of Korean neutrality. The opera- 
tions of the Russians on both sides of the Yalu were imitated 
by them. The Russian cavalry had operated for a year in 
northern Korea, when on the 24th of January, 1904, the 
Japanese landed military supplies at Kinsan, south of 
Chemulpo, which included a field railway and grain. On 
the second of February the Naval Office at Port Arthur 

79 



The Tragedy of Russia 



stored 1,500 tons of coal, which had been diverted from 
Port Arthur, on Roze Island, in Chemulpo Harbor, for the 
use of the small squadron which the Eastern Empire kept 
there, to awe the Japanese and to defend the port. On the 
evening of the sixth of February the Japanese minister had 
left St. Petersburg about forty-eight hours before the 
Japanese attack on Port Arthur, and his departure was 
equivalent to a declaration of war. The following morning 
the Japanese Government handed Baron Rosen, the Russian 
minister in Tokyo, his credentials. The Japanese military, 
centered at the Japanese Legation in Seoul, closed the land 
telegraph lines, but in spite of all these operations the 
Eastern Empire remained inactive; though in easy communi- 
cation with their squadron at Chemulpo they did not recall 
it nor make any attempt to mobilize their navy. On the 
eighth, when Chemulpo was practically blockaded, the squad- 
ron there decided to ask instructions from Port Arthur. 
There were but two ships, the Varyag, a fast cruiser, and 
the Koryeetz, a gunboat. The Koryeetz started on this 
errand and seems unwittingly to have fired the first shot of 
the war, for when it arrived outside Chemulpo it encoun- 
tered Japanese torpedo boats. From the Japanese and Rus- 
sians, who were the only witnesses of what happened, it 
was found that shots were exchanged and the Koryeetz 
immediately returned to her anchorage in the harbor. A 
Russian admitted that the Koryeetz fired first, though by 
accident. The Japanese returned the fire, which was without 
effect. There seems to have been some excitement on the 
Koryeetz, although the officers of that vessel, at any rate, 
could not have been innocent of what was to be expected as 
soon as they were on the high seas. The first open act of 
war was the seizure of the Russian steamer Mukden, in 
the harbor of Fusan, but this was unknown at Chemulpo, 
where the Russians there were discussing their own situation. 

80 



The War Situation 



While they were sitting in council, about four o'clock in 
the afternoon, three Japanese transports entered the harbor 
from the south under convoy of a Japanese squadron of 
cruisers and torpedo boats. The expedition took no appar- 
ent notice of the Russian squadron, as though testing the 
degree of Russian assumption of the neutrality of the port. 
The stupidity of the Russians was astounding. The Varyag 
and Koryeetz remained to watch the Japanese transport 
embark 2,500 troops throughout the night by the light of 
great fires burning on the jetty. In all probability the Japan- 
ese squadron, consisting of six cruisers with torpedo boats, 
was watching for the appearance of the Varyag and Koryeetz 
outside the harbor. But the Russians suspended any action 
until the next day. About ten o'clock on the morning of 
the 9th Admiral Uriu, of the Japanese squadron, caused a 
letter to be handed to Captain Rudnieff of the Varyag, 
informing him that unless both the Russian boats left the 
harbor the Japanese would come in at four o'clock and 
attack them. Captain Rudnieff shared the intelligence with 
the Russian Consul and with the commanders of four foreign 
war vessels in the port. These were an Italian, an American, 
a French and a British, whose commanders held a confer- 
ence in which they agreed that the port was neutral and that 
the Japanese admiral was exceeding his rights. The com- 
mander of the British vessel was deputed to confer with 
the Japanese admiral, and the Russian commander was 
advised to remain where he was anchored. The neutral 
vessels decided also to remain where they were. Captain 
Rudnieff, however, accepted Admiral Uriu's challenge, be- 
cause he believed that the honor of the Russian flag 
demanded it. The engagement lasted a little over three- 
quarters of an hour, when the Varyag, which had borne 
the brunt of the fight, was injured below the water line and 
disabled, and being slowly sinking went to the mouth of 

81 



The Tragedy of Russia 



the harbor and dropped anchor. Though the Koryeetz was 
still intact, she followed the Varyag and took up her anchor- 
age near by where the two ships decided to fight to the last 
and then blow themselves up. The foreign commanders 
in the port, however, decided that the Russians had done 
all that honor required of them and offered them asylum 
aboard their own ships. The Russian commanders accepted, 
and with their crews and wounded went aboard the British 
cruiser Talbot and the French cruiser Pascal. About half- 
past three the Koryeetz was blown up and sunk, and the 
Varyag, which had been slowly filling, went down at even- 
ing with the bodies of forty-one dead in the cabin. The 
engagement began after the day attack on Port Arthur had 
closed. 

The Russians displayed splendid heroism. The com- 
manders of the Varyag and the Koryeetz set an example 
at Chemulpo when they cleared their decks for action and 
went to their supposed doom, which a couple of months 
later the army under Sassulitch thought itself obliged to 
emulate. Although the Russian judgment was bad and was 
the means of their losing these two ships, there is no reproach 
upon the courage of the fighters. Had the Russian authori- 
ties at Chemulpo and Seoul been discreet the Varyag at least 
could have escaped to Port Arthur as late as the morning of 
the 8th, and the Koryeetz itself might have eluded pursuit. 
But at least they established with the Japanese military men 
the high opinion of Russian courage which the Japanese 
retained throughout the war. From the day of this event 
to the day of Rodjestvensky's defeat the men of Russia who 
had set this example of bravery, gave eminent demonstra- 
tion of their ability to die. The Russians never insisted that 
the Japanese were necessarily wrong in the violation of 
the purely technical neutrality of the port of Chemulpo, 
which they knew to be a figment of their own, 

82 



The War Situation 



The Japanese soon after captured the transport Man- 
churia and a large cargo of ammunition. 

Port Arthur was well supplied with coal, an advantage, 
the credit of which is due to the merchant Gensberg. The 
troop transport Kazan also landed 1,800 men from the Black 
Sea. Considering that on land the military authorities were 
preparing to repel invasion, the management of the fleet 
was inexplicable upon any other ground than that of gross 
incompetency. And when it is considered that the object 
of precipitating the war on the part of Russia was to estab- 
lish the Eastern Empire on the sea, and that when the 
domain of the sea was lost permanently at Tsushima the 
war ended, the military and diplomatic conduct of the authori- 
ties was unpardonable. It was, however, never visited with 
the retribution which came to men like Stoessel and some of 
Rodjestvensky's commanders. 

The remarks of Russia's enemies when the Eastern 
Empire, through its navy, had made this awkward bow to 
the world, were bitterly prophetic. It was remembered on 
the China coast that the Japanese had boldly exposed the 
bugaboo of Chinese military power some years before, and 
Japan was now credited with having " pricked another 
bubble." 

At least five of the fighting ships of the fleet were hors 
de combat. The Varyag and Koryeetz were lost at Che- 
mulpo, several valuable merchant vessels of the sea-going 
service of the Eastern Empire railways were taken. The 
battle-ship Oslyabia and the fleet of cruisers, torpedo boats 
and transports en route to reinforce the Viceroy's navy, were 
turned back. A week after the opening of the war it was 
confidently asserted that neither the navy of the Eastern 
Empire nor that of Russia in Europe would be a serious 
factor in the war. 

Confusion reigned in the whole military organization of 

83 



The Tragedy of Russia 



Port Arthur following the Japanese attacks of the 8th and 
9th. The Viceroy was absent and the War Department 
hopelessly at sea. The British captains of merchant ships 
were compelled to appeal to their Government for help. 
The steamer JVen-chou, loaded with refugees — principally 
Chinese, who had crowded the open decks — received per- 
mission to leave, but when she reached the guardship was 
fired upon and a Chinese killed on the forward deck. This 
blunder was chargeable to the harbor guardship. The 
Wen-chou at last got away. Another British ship that had 
brought in a cargo of coal was taken out some time after 
by a crew imported for that purpose. These acts show the 
incompetency and indecision of the navy. 

The country in the rear of Port Arthur and Dalny was 
in a pitiful condition. On the morning of the 10th, Nang- 
halen, the junction of the Port Arthur and Dalny branches 
of the railway, was crowded principally with women and 
children who had spent hours of waiting before the long 
trains could be made up which were to carry this excited and 
wretched crowd northward. One was fortunate to secure 
a place even on the platform of a third-class carriage, where 
immediately it became so cold that it was necessary to go 
inside — if an entrance was possible — and then it was difficult 
to find a place even on the baggage rack under the roof, 
reserved for the peasants' baggage. The trains crept north 
almost at a snail's pace and were so crowded that many of 
the passengers came from time to time to stand on the plat- 
forms, where they could get the air. Several of the former 
merchants of Port Arthur, and the late manager of the 
Russo-Chinese Bank, got away on this day. When night 
came on the stench in the carriages was terrible and it was 
necessary every few minutes to climb down from the baggage 
rack and go out on the platform. It required all day and 
night of the 10th to get to Niu-ch'uang, by way of which 

84 



The War Situation 



port a few refugees from Port Arthur and Dalny left Man- 
churia. At the same time refugees were coming down from 
Vladivostok and Harbin to escape into China. At Niu- 
ch'uang, by the nth, a report had been received that half 
of a force of 12,000 Japanese had been destroyed near 
Ta-lien Bay, where, it was reported, they had attempted 
to land and capture the Kin-chou position. This story was 
sent to St. Petersburg in an official report and was not offi- 
cially discredited until a week after. 



85 



CHAPTER VIII 



THE NEUTRAL BORDER 



THE region adjoining the Liao River became the 
western limits of the theater of war, Niu-ch'uang 
the westernmost barrier of Russian defenses — the 
last fortified position on the Liao-tung Gulf coast. The 
frontier of the Eastern Empire at Niu-ch'uang was impor- 
tant on account of the foreign consuls established there (for 
it was the only treaty-port in Manchuria) and its intimate 
connection with the Chih-li province. 

Niu-ch'uang is a long, straggling Chinese town on the 
east bank of the Liao, eighteen miles from the river bar 
that lets the ships in from the sea at high tide — all the 
plain in which it lies is a low mud flat. At the upper end of 
the town is the foreign settlement ranged about the Imperial 
Chinese customs. 

The place is not attractive in summer and is very desolate 
in winter. Like the Neva at St. Petersburg, the Liao is 
closed with ice the latter part of November. It was when 
Russia had carried out the first part of Lessar's Convention 
and evacuated the country between the Great Wall and 
the Liao, that the conspirators of the Eastern Empire fixed 
their provisional frontier here. In the latter part of the 
summer Russian military had inspected the old dilapidated 
forts at the mouth of the river and drawn up a plan of 
defenses which they soon devised and manned with soldiers. 

A traveler arriving at this place in the dead of winter 
and speaking neither Chinese nor Russian might pity his 
own condition. He would be turned out of a warm railway 

86 



The Neutral Border 



carriage at night into the pitiless wind. Even if he were a 
seasoned traveler, the most indifferent to comfort, he could not 
face that bare, chartless, frozen Manchurian delta and Mon- 
golian wind without a shudder. Coming from the west one 
landed at the river bank where, at this season, it was necessary 
to take a p'ai-tzu — a small sled propelled with a stick which 
the Chinese operator, standing with one foot on each of the 
runners, strikes against the ice. More likely there would 
be no p'ai-tzu to be had, for the Chinese seldom go out at 
night, in which case the traveler must find for himself a bed 
where he may in the little village there, or make his way 
alone nearly two miles over the ice and up the river to the 
desolate hotels, only one degree better than those of Port 
Arthur. 

Since 1900 Niu-ch'uang had been, under protests from 
foreign powers, under the rule of a Russian civil adminis- 
trator, who governed the city and the people, except the 
foreign nationalities outside of the Chinese, as though they 
were Russians. The Imperial Chinese Customs was in their 
hands and they possessed all the customs receipts since 1900. 
This administrator, under direct authority of Alexeieff, exer- 
cised something of a despotic supervision not only of city 
affairs, but of foreign affairs affecting nations, and it was 
with considerable difficulty that the representatives of foreign 
powers were able to deal with him in matters affecting their 
sacred treaty rights. 

The Eastern Empire in fact successfully usurped, for four 
years, the rights of nations there. It had set great store 
by the administration of this port. It had erected a fine 
residence for its administrator, and over a dome on this 
building was placed the Russian eagle in gilt, overlooking 
the city and the region, emblematic of Russian authority. 
A large bank building was under construction and there 
was a parade ground with barracks and a Russian school for 

87 



The Tragedy of Russia 



Chinese. There was a large police establishment, which was 
the main instrument for the execution of the administrator's 
laws and regulations. Among the most interesting of these 
was a proclamation to suppress a strike of the Chinese work- 
men in the oil factories, who were demanding an increase in 
their wages. It reads as follows : 

" I have found out that wages have been increased in the last three 
years once every year. What caused this stoppage of work? By the 
law of Russia, labor leaders who stop work or trade should receive 
the same punishment as rebels, and followers should also be punished 
strictly. I have therefore arrested and punished the leaders, and post 
this notice to inform you that all should begin work as usual not 
later than to-morrow. Any one disobeying this will be immediately 
arrested and expelled from this port." 

Following this a notice was posted, namely: 

" Notice is hereby given to all the people and merchants of Niu- 
ch'uang. Since this port is administered by the power of Russia, all 
cases must be reported before me for judgment. Some merchants did 
not report the cases to me, but asked other foreigners — merchants, 
missionaries of other nations. It should be understood that mer- 
chants care only for commercial interests; foreigners have their own 
business, and missionaries are especially for preaching. They cannot 
meddle with other business, especially under the administration of 
Russia. I therefore inform you that hereafter you should come to 
me with all cases, whether petitions to the judge or the police station, 
and you are not allowed to confer with foreigners, merchants or 
missionaries. Severe punishment will be given those who disobey me. 

" A. OSTROVERKHOFF, 

" Russian Civil Administrator. 
" Niu-ch'uang." 

In regard to the causes that aggravated the hostility of 
various other powers interested in Manchuria, Niu-ch'uang 
played a more important part than any other city. 

88 



The Neutral Border 



The Powers, as well as the Government of China, had a 
grievance here with Russia which only war could settle. In 
accordance with custom, one British and one American gun- 
boat wintered here. There was also in 1903-4 the Russian 
gunboat Sivootch. These vessels were interned in mud docks 
at the upper end of the town within a short distance of each 
other, where they exchanged official formalities, but the 
captain of the Sivootch complained that he had a weak 
heart and failing health and was afraid of the American 
captain's whisky. It was at the time when the American 
Government was pressing strongly for the opening of Man- 
churia to trade, and especially the cities of Antung and 
Mukden. It was a matter of great international importance 
and completely inimical to the Eastern Empire, and the 
Russians felt a bitter hostility to America. America's atti- 
tude, which had signally strengthened under Mr. Hay, had 
greatly offended the Russians, whose duplicity he had uncov- 
ered. Members of Alexeieff's cabinet had roughly asserted 
that America had lost millions of rubles in trade by having 
" tied herself to the wheels of England," who was so shame- 
lessly pressing Japan's cause. They threatened to completely 
extinguish American interests in Manchuria. One of the 
generals said that Russia was fully determined to hold Man- 
churia, even though Japan, England, America and all the 
nations opposed her. " There is the logic of history, the logic 
of events, and the logic of theory," said he, " and in this case 
events have decided the fate of Manchuria and they are 
immutable." 

Niu-ch'uang was now the only port in the Russian Eastern 
Empire, of which the Russians had control, where free com- 
munication could be had with the outside world, and which 
was accessible to travelers and to correspondents. Within 
a few days correspondents who had lived in Port Arthur or 
visited it from time to time, congregated at Niu-ch'uane, 

89 



The Tragedy of Russia 



which was then held to be neutral ground. It was not long, 
however, until the authorities of the Eastern Empire found 
occasion to annul this neutrality on this and other accounts 
and they also took possession of the telegraphs on the west 
bank of the river, opposite the city. The official mail of 
the foreign consuls was opened and sometimes delayed, when 
there was an object for doing so, for several days. Foreign 
interests centered there began to clamor for relief, because 
they foresaw the slow extinction of trade unless Niu-ch'uang 
remained an open Chinese port. But through influences 
which are not clearly understood, but doubtless on account 
of the city commanding the principal waterway of southern 
Manchuria, and the fact that Russia had maintained posses- 
sion of and a bitter contention for it, and for the further 
reason that Japan looked forward to using the Liao as a line 
of communication in a later stage of the war, the Powers 
included it in the theater of war and made such an arrange- 
ment with Russia as would only guarantee the rights of 
individuals and foreign property therein. 

Having formed a plan of border defense connecting the 
Yalu defenses with the defenses of the Ussuri province on 
the east, the Eastern Empire proceeded to abolish the neu- 
trality of the port of Niu-ch'uang on the southwest frontier, 
and to thus get rid of the knotty questions which had aggra- 
vated its foreign relations for four years. To this end the 
Viceroy issued an order on March 13th declaring the city and 
port of Niu-ch'uang in a state of war, and the following 
regulations were at once put into effect: 

1. The entire territory, city and port, also all persons, 
without distinction of jurisdiction and neutrality, resident 
therein, are subjected to special regulations regarding a state 
of war. 

2. Travelers arriving by sea, as well as cargoes entering 
the port, must be inspected by naval as well as customs officers. 

90 



The Neutral Border 



3. The importation of arms and ammunition is forbidden. 

4. The exportation of contraband of war to Japan and 
Korea is forbidden. 

5. Persons desiring to export contraband of war are 
required to deposit a sum equivalent to the value of the 
cargo with the Russo-Chinese Bank, to serve as a guarantee 
that the cargo will not be forwarded after leaving Niu- 
ch'uang from neutral ports to Japan or Korea. 

6. Functions of the lightship and harbor guides on the 
Liao are suspended. 

7. Contraband is to consist as per the Emperor's ruling 
of the fourteenth of February. 

8. The military and civil authorities of Niu-ch'uang will 
be guided by the Institute on Government, Article 23. 

The importance of Niu-ch'uang lay in the fact that it was 
the only part of the Eastern Empire that was in juxtaposition 
with the outside civilized world. 

As the exports from Niu-ch'uang were all in the list of 
contraband, and as it was impracticable and absurd to deposit 
the value of cargoes in a Russian bank, these orders threat- 
ened to extinguish business in Niu-ch'uang, and required much 
negotiation between the civil administrator, Alexeiefl, and 
the foreign merchants before they could be reduced to work- 
ing order. The treaty rights secured to foreign interests, 
which the Viceroy had asserted would not be molested, had 
in these particulars been annulled by him. Ex-territorial, as 
well as the consular jurisdiction, had been invaded and the 
position of the foreign consuls appeared to be untenable. 

It appears that it was owing principally to the wishes of 
Japan that America and England deferred, in the matter 
of previous contentions regarding their interests, to the 
plans of the Russians. For some days and weeks there was 
some vacillation on the part of the Americans and British, 
but at last, when the river opened, the American gunboat 

9i 



The Tragedy of Russia 



Helena and the British gunboat Espiegle departed. The 
British consul strongly urged British women and children in 
Manchuria to leave Niu-ch'uang before the river opened. 
The German authorities warned their own race that they 
remained in Niu-ch'uang and Manchuria at their own risk. 
It was given out that Russia favored the neutrality of 
Niu-ch'uang and that the action of the authorities of the 
Eastern Empire was brought on by the opposition of 
Japan. 

The reception of war by the Nova Krai reflected the 
sentiments of a large part of the officialdom of the Eastern 
Empire, and seemed to produce one of those anomalous situ- 
ations possible perhaps only in such countries as Russia. 
The civilian element made bitter comments upon the action 
of the Russian Government. A certain civil judge declared 
that Russian diplomacy had shown itself to be utterly 
imbecile in dealing with Japan. It was learned that the 
Czar was at the theater when the outbreak at Port Arthur 
occurred, and that his ministers had always kept the actual 
state of things secret from him. 

A curious belief existed among the Russians at this time. 
They declared that men were being paid by outsiders to 
foment the war feeling in Japan, and they wholly discredited 
Japanese initiative. The meaning which the declarations 
of war by Japan and Russiarcarried to Manchuria and to 
the Eastern Empire was partly conveyed in a proclamation 
by Admiral Alexeieff — posted about the twenty-fifth of Feb- 
ruary — which contains his expectation of the co-operation of 
the native government and people. It begins: " Let the 
Military, Merchants, Gentry and People of the Three Prov- 
inces of Manchuria tremble and obey." The second article is 
a good example of the remarkable logic with which the East- 
ern Empire throughout its adventures browbeat the Chinese. 
In one sentence it claims Chinese interests to be those of the 

92 



The Neutral Border 



Eastern Empire and that the Chinese as neutrals should 
assist the Russian army.* 

In contained an earnest appeal for the sympathies of the 
people in the present crisis, when u we must put our back to 
the wall." 

The land forces were now preparing to close up the gap 
between the Yalu and the Ussuri province of the Eastern 
Empire; for, unable to resist the landing of Japanese troops 
in Korea, or by naval force to command the coast there, as 
they had attempted by diplomatic agreement to do, they 
prepared to meet the Japanese land forces at some point on 
the Seoul-Wi-ju road. 

The old Chinese fort between Niu-ch'uang and the sea 
was at once occupied by a field battery and one company 
of infantry. Shortly afterward several siege guns were 
mounted there. Americans and Britons regarded their inter- 
ests as abandoned by their governments, and when their 
gunboats left the river they protested through their consuls 
and ministers at Peking. They were indignant and regarded 
the withdrawal of their governments as inviting depredations 
upon their interests. 

The Japanese consul had long ago retired, leaving Japan- 
ese affairs in the hands of the American consul. This exam- 
ple the Russians imitated by transferring to the French 
consular agent the custody of extensive bank, consular and 
civil administration property. The control of the telegraphs 
opposite Niu-ch'uang, in neutral territory, and the concession 
of the control of the city of Niu-ch'uang entirely to the Rus- 
sians, seemed to expose the terminus of the Chinese-British 
Railway, a fact which aroused the apprehension of the 
British managers, who feared that in the event of the Rus- 
sians retreating, the terminus would be destroyed. 

In this way the Russianizing of Niu-ch'uang, that three 

* See Appendix. 

93 



The Tragedy of Russia 



years had not entirely achieved, was done, so to speak, in 
a day, and the Eastern Empire, except for the peninsula of 
Korea, already invaded and occupied by the Japanese, was 
closed to the world. In the presence of the foreigners resi- 
dent in Niu-ch'uang, and the consuls, practically interned 
there, the Russians seemed to feel that the Powers had con- 
spired to embarrass them, when almost unexpectedly they 
found that their plans had worked out. 

General Linievitch, who was the senior officer in the 
Eastern Empire and the most distinguished, was selected to 
command the land forces, and had arrived from Harbarvosk 
at Liao-yang, where the army was being mobilized. In the 
middle of March he visited Niu-ch'uang to inspect the 
defenses, which were already under care of General Kon- 
dratovitch, and K'ai-chou on the gulf, which was the center 
of defenses to be constructed for the protection of the south- 
west. An additional battery of artillery, and 150 Cossacks 
were added to the defenses of Niu-ch'uang, the life of which 
was now beginning to resemble that of Port Arthur. As it 
filled up with under-officers and generals it became more and 
more gay. Whatever the effects of the early misfortunes 
of the Empire were upon the Viceroy and his staff, it had 
little effect upon the temper of the authorities at large. It 
was noticeable throughout the war that the imperial system, 
as it existed among the Russians, gave them a false sense of 
security. When one disaster was reported upon another, 
there was outwardly no great concern. The Russians gave 
the impression that no consequences were involved, because 
it was impossible for any great or serious disaster to over- 
take the Empire. Now that it was involved in calamity the 
people fell back upon the state for deliverance in perfect 
confidence. 

Instead of a general awakening after the first attacks at 
Port Arthur, there was an amazing indifference. The clubs 

94 



The Neutral Border 



and hotels filled up with officers when part of the women who 
had been expelled from Port Arthur with all civilians estab- 
lished themselves there. The dissipations that had made 
Port Arthur notorious throughout the East, were imitated in 
this border port. Most of the foreigners had removed their 
families, who had taken refuge at Shan-hai-kuan and Tien- 
tsin, or in the Chinese capital. 

The fame of society, as it was understood in the Eastern 
Empire, was alone sufficient to compel respectable families 
to leave. The exhibition of immorality charged against 
the naval military in Port Arthur, could not have been more 
flagrant than that carried on by the officers of the land forces, 
who were to be seen in this resort. In the public dining 
room of a crowded hotel a general of cavalry on one occa- 
sion introduced his entire subordinate staff to a public woman 
at dinner. The foreign guests of the hotel were amazed 
at the spectacle, and some French journalists, who, as allies 
of the Russians, were in the enjoyment of special privileges 
from officials, were so disgusted that they denounced the 
proceeding before leaving the dining room. It was said at 
the time that a bottle of champagne and a woman were suffi- 
cient inducement to tempt an officer from his post. At 
this very time citizen patriots were with bitterness openly 
reproaching servants of the state because they had to be 
dragged from their debaucheries to save the remnants of 
the Port Arthur fleet. It does not seem possible to one 
acquainted with the navy that there has been any great 
exaggeration in these charges. It is a matter of common 
knowledge that when exposed to, and threatened by, the 
enemy, and even during engagements, as well as in the last 
flight of the army after Mukden, duty was abandoned for 
cards, drinking and women. 

The foreign merchants whose observations upon the Rus- 
sian military were keen because associated with expectations 

95 



The Tragedy of Russia 



of gain, and who had laid in extensive cargoes of military 
supplies, complained that, instead of field glasses, pans, camp 
kettles and stores, the Russian officers made daily requisitions 
upon them for fans, bon-bons, perfumeries, garters and toilet 
requisites, and did not always want to pay the bill ! 

The Japanese consul from Che-foo had not been able to 
carry all of the Japanese refugees over from Port Arthur 
before the attack, a fact which probably contributed to the 
confidence of the authorities there. Some who were left 
behind, as well as the refugees of all nationalities in the 
interior, particularly Harbin, began to arrive in Niu-ch'uang 
by the middle of February. The Japanese refugees, among 
whom were a large number of women, were regarded with 
su'spicion, and several Japanese merchants were sent on 
from the interior to Port Arthur, where they remained, with 
five Japanese women, though well treated, in the military 
prison under Golden Hill for thirteen days, from February 
7th to 20th, or until released through the activity of the 
American consul, Henry B. Miller. Nearly three hundred 
refugees, mostly women, arrived at Ta-shih-ch'iao from 
Harbin and were delivered into the charge of the American 
consul. 

American and English refugees from Russian cities in 
the north arrived and reported that German and French 
nationals would be permittee! to remain in the theater of war. 
On account of the Anglo-Japanese Agreement, British sub- 
jects had been required to sign an agreement to leave the 
theater of war within a given time. In Niu-ch'uang itself 
was a Japanese innkeeper, a Japanese barber and a well- 
digger, who had been resident there for several years and 
were under the avowed protection of the Russian civil admin- 
istrator, who had agreed with the American consul that no 
action would be taken against them without due notification. 
But little more than a week after the attack upon Port 

96 



The Neutral Border 



Arthur the premises where they were quietly celebrating their 
year's-end holidays, were invaded by the police. The Ameri- 
can consul was notified by the British residents, who told 
him that in passing a Japanese inn they had heard a Japanese 
woman cry out in English, " Oh, don't take me away, don't 
take me away! " The place was about five minutes' walk 
distant. When he arrived there he found the entrance to the 
court in which the hotel building was situated open but 
guarded by a Russian soldier. The consul pushed past the 
guard who tried to stop him and entered the hotel building. 
The place was full of Russian soldiers, twelve or fifteen of 
them. They had broken open the doors, rifled the sleeping 
rooms of three Japanese women; bound three Japanese men, 
tying their arms tightly behind them; stabbed one of them, 
and also had in captivity a blind Chinese musician, and were 
at the moment plundering the trunks, chests and bureaus. 
Most of the furniture was already broken up, and all the pro- 
visions which these innocent people had brought together had 
been looted. While the consul, who was the proper repre- 
sentative of the Japanese in Manchuria, was making an 
examination of this spectacle, a Caucasian police sergeant 
appeared, who was the captain of this gang, acting under 
the Police Department. He desired to explain that the 
consul was an American, and not the Japanese consul, but 
when he was told that Mr. Miller was the Japanese consul 
as well, he w T as greatly astonished. At the same time he 
was not disposed to give up his spoil and refused to release 
the prisoners until the chief of the Police Department was 
sent for, when he was dismissed, and the affair placed in the 
hands of the civil administrator, who promptly paid the dam- 
ages and endeavored to hush the matter up. In this manner, 
at least in Niu-ch'uang by the Police Department, was 
resented the attitude of the Japanese nation. The incident 
had such a disgraceful look, that the Caucasian sergeant was 

97 



The Tragedy of Russia 



dismissed and the civil administrator applied to the American 
consul to have the matter suppressed and kept out of his 
official reports. The consul had no right to do this and 
had no choice but to place an account of the outrage on 
record with the American and Japanese governments. 

It happened that the Caucasian sergeant had the day 
before been selected by the civil administrator to accompany 
the writer to Port Arthur, permission having been granted 
through the efforts of the consul, and of Mr. Grosse, the 
civil administrator, to revisit the fortress on particular busi- 
ness. The Caucasian had reported at the consulate, where 
we were to meet for the purpose of proceeding to the rail- 
way station. He was armed with the proper authorization 
which it was necessary for us to have before we would be 
accepted on the railway. I had been unable to get any con- 
veyance to take us to the railway station, which was two 
miles distant, and my escort, dressed in a long, glittering black 
coat, with a poniard and sword and those showy imitation 
cartridges which altogether form the national costume of 
these people, was an entirely too magnificent individual 
to walk to the station. When I proposed walking to him 
I felt as though I had done him an irreparable injury, 
and immediately proffered the suggestion to this cut-throat 
that we wait until the following day. As I had been present 
at the denouement of his little adventure at the Japanese inn 
I was not sorry that our acquaintance had begun in such a 
manner. He was a most evil-looking Russian and I had 
the conviction that he had taken advantage of the opportu- 
nity afforded him to plunder, if not to murder these innocent 
people, and that he was the last custodian in the world that 
any human or animal thing would wish to have. 

If civil affairs were at times conducted with barbarism in 
Niu-ch'uang those of the military and police were practiced 
in savagery, and as the existing war was regarded as a com- 

9 8 



The Neutral Border 



parison of civilizations in which it was widely believed 
Christian would prove superior to pagan, it is important to 
make a permanent record of the fact of these initial brutali- 
ties on the part of Russians. 

The military frontier properly began at the Russian rail- 
way station on the east bank of the Liao, a little distance 
above Niu-ch'uang. This frontier inspired in the stranger 
a sense of dread which accompanies the mere mention of 
"Russian frontier." The heavy sense of decorum and respon- 
sibility which seems to oppress the Russian functionaries, and 
the uniform and insignia which they wear, is extremely 
depressing. Mankind in them was reduced to machinery, 
and in this case seemingly invested with the mysterious and 
eccentric power of official injury, which even they do not 
appear to understand, but, like the stranger, dread. A 
stranger, however, bearing the proper authorization, required 
nothing more than an official inspection of the same to com- 
mand the services of all minor functionaries, which in the 
Eastern Empire were at the time very agreeable. The 
Eastern Empire was a land of new hope to them in which 
they had dreamed, if they did not manifest the freedom of 
the West. 

The Niu-ch'uang branch line is but twelve miles long and 
joins the main line of the Central Manchurian Railway at 
Ta-shih-ch'iao, where the trains connect with the Siberian 
Express. The station at Niu-ch'uang at this time was 
crowded with civilians en route to Ta-shih-ch'iao to meet 
friends and relatives from the south. While restlessly wait- 
ing for the trains to be made up, Russian officers remarked, 
"We can drink nothing — there is nothing to drink! " as a 
means of relieving the monotony of suspense. At Ta-shih- 
ch'iao, where they waited hours for the Port Arthur Express, 
there was much excitement on account of reports that the 
Askold and other ships had been destroyed by the Japanese. 

99 



The Tragedy of Russia 



At the same time there was a report that the Russian forces 
at Kin-chou had destroyed half a brigade of Japanese who 
had landed at Ta-lien. Foreigners were looked upon with 
suspicion and much curiosity and inspected by officers of the 
railway guard and the gendarmerie. So strict were the mili- 
tary orders from Port Arthur that all papers had to be again 
examined, but once aboard the Siberian Express the track was 
clear from Ta-shih-ch'iao to Port Arthur. 

Compared with other railways of the Far East, this great 
express was something really imposing, and the manager of 
this train was a dignitary — he might almost have been the 
Viceroy of the Eastern Empire — for his accomplishments, 
his grandeur and condescension. He spoke several languages 
and was acquainted with everything concerning the Eastern 
Empire, including politics. The Russian porter was a real 
and present blessing, not the lofty sovereign autocrat in 
dusky isolation, that characterizes American portership — but 
a servant and a benefactor. Throughout March and April 
the railway to Port Arthur was operating on schedule. The 
peninsula of Liao-tung was quiet. Two to twenty-five Fron- 
tier Guardsmen were stationed at each culvert and bridge 
to protect the line. The fortress troops from Port Arthur 
maneuvered on the Kin-chou isthmus and by the devising 
and strengthening of their defenses there, were preparing 
for the battle that was to take place in May. 



ioo 



CHAPTER IX 

» 

LOSS OF THE SEA 

A WEEK after the first attack upon Port Arthur, 
under the gray of the winter sky, especially the cold 
mist of dawn, Port Arthur was quiet and grand. 
The Retzvisan was still on the rocks at the harbor mouth 
where the lighters could be seen working at her and where, 
for a remuneration commensurate with the task, though not 
adequate for the risk, a Scotch engineer was engaged to 
float her. He complained that the Russian officers had 
assigned him a berth on that side of the vessel exposed to 
the enemy and had reserved those away from the enemy 
for themselves. The Novik was in the naval dock under- 
going repairs, while the Czarevitch and the Pallada remained 
resting in the harbor unchanged. Captain Essen, of the 
Novik, and Captain Versain of the Baian, had been com- 
mended for their gallantry in the action of February 9th. 

The military authorities had taken possession of all aban- 
doned warehouses and stores, and regulations were in force 
fixing prices so that there could be no competition. It was 
believed that the fortress possessed sufficient food supplies 
to maintain the garrison for two years. The British tramp 
ship Foxton Hall, which had brought in a cargo of coal, and 
was now floating loosely at her cables alongside the coal 
dock, as well as one other British ship which had been aban- 
doned, were waiting for their captains and crews, whom the 
authorities were trying to induce to return to Port Arthur 

101 



The Tragedy of Russia 



and take them away. The Norwegian ship Brand, which 
had brought in a cargo of lumber and hay before the attack, 
was preparing to leave with refugees and dispatches. A 
considerable number of Japanese refugees were included in 
the cargoes of these vessels through the personal interest 
of the Viceroy and his minister, De Plancon, who were 
anxious to get them away. About thirty per cent, of the 
civil population remained in Port Arthur. Trains were still 
crowded with refugees both from Port Arthur and Dalny. 
Having cleared the unfortunate vessels which had been 
caught in Port Arthur harbor during the first attack, the 
Viceroy issued a proclamation to the world which, by abolish- 
ing all restrictions and obstacles to navigation in the harbors 
of Liao-tung, sought to encourage blockade running, with a 
view to supplying the garrison with fresh food. 

General Valkauf was still the civil governor. The Nova 
Krai was virtually suspended, though it was issuing occa- 
sional bulletins. At night the city was in darkness, except 
for the Viceroy's house, which, as it was in a conspicuous 
place, visible from all the fortifications in a radius of several 
miles, was brilliantly lighted up every night to give confidence 
to the garrison, although Alexeieff himself, with members 
of his staff, was at the time absent at Liao-yang, and was 
reported to have gone on to Mukden and Harbin. General 
Stoessel was still commander of the fortress, though it was 
reported that he would be replaced by a General Zerlinsky, 
a wish that was father to the thought perhaps, but which was 
not realized. The Japanese fleet was sighted at intervals 
from Golden Hill. The mine transport, Yenesei, while 
laying mines outside the bay at Dalny, accidentally blew 
herself up and left many stray mines upon the waters, which 
drifted seaward and began that formidable menace to navi- 
gation which continued for two years in the Gulf of Chili 
and the Yellow Sea. The heroic death of the commander, 

102 



Loss of the Sea 

Stepanoff, in the attempt to save a part of the ship's crew, 
was the topic of the hour. The Russian cruiser Boyarin, 
which undertook to relay the drifting mines at Dalny, was 
torpedoed by the Japanese torpedo boats Asagiri and Haya- 
tori in a snowstorm on the morning of the 14th, making 
the second cruiser of the fleet of the Eastern Empire totally 
destroyed. She did not, however, disappear in the sea, but 
was run on the rocks. A general attack had been planned 
upon Port Arthur, but owing to a severe gale, the darkness 
and a heavy snowstorm, only the two torpedo boats above 
mentioned were able to get into action. Two other Japanese 
torpedo boats, it was reported afterwards, narrowly escaped 
running ashore. 

It seemed very strange, considering that Port Arthur was 
in a state of siege, that there were yet foreigners lingering 
about without any apparent occupation, one of whom, hav- 
ing been at last arrested as a suspicious person and carried 
to the police station, was released because he was able to 
state that he was a resident at the " Americansky Dom," 
which endeared him to the chief of police. The " Ameri- 
cansky Dom " was a brothel, the mistress of which, the chief 
of police explained, was a great friend of his. 

The only apparent alteration in the administration of the 
police department consisted in the examination of all arrivals 
within the fortress. This generally required two hours, most 
of which time was spent in waiting for the appearance of 
the chief of police. If one's papers were correct a police 
sergeant would be detailed as an escort, release from whom 
could be bought for a few rubles. 

There were yet a number of tradesmen literally cowering 
in their houses, which in some places were little more than 
burrows in the hills. Under the walls of the old Chinese 
fort, between the city and the native town, were houses that 
were for the time deserted, and about them some neighbors 

103 



The Tragedy of Russia 



gathered and jabbered like animals who have suddenly come 
upon the dead body of a fellow. 

At Effiemoff's, where the accumulated grime of the past 
three years was eloquent of guests who were departed for- 
ever, it was no trouble to get a room now. Saratoff's also 
was shorn of its cheap grandeur. The veranda was dark 
and empty and all the windows were screened to shut in 
the light. The guests who at evening congregated here 
crowded into the little room which contained the bar. When I 
landed in Port Arthur I was immediately placed in charge 
of a police sergeant who, for a few rubles, had temporarily 
released me, and here at seven o'clock, while the sergeant 
was absent, I was rearrested by my former police enemy 
and carried off to the police station at the top of the hill 
back of the Old Town. I should not have mentioned this 
incident had it not served as well as anything to show the 
pettiness, incompetence and general worthlessness of the Port 
Arthur police. As a matter of fact, I had reported at the 
police station for orders just previous to going to Saratoff's 
for dinner. I was on parole and had not been absent from 
my sergeant long when I was pounced upon and ignomini- 
ously hustled off in the midst of my dinner. We had no 
sooner arrived in the police station than my sergeant escort, 
who was hot on our trail, arrived. Coming up to me he 
exclaimed: " Well, you are here, are you? " and threw down 
his cap, striding up and down the room looking for his enemy 
and muttering curses through his teeth. He looked into 
the chief's room and must have seen therein the little police 
officer who had arrested me, for he came back and awaited 
his appearance. It was but a moment until the man came 
out. He was a small fellow, conceited and vain, though it 
was said of him that he was notoriously the only honest 
man in the police department. The sergeant, a big fellow, 
regarded his antagonist as though he would grind him into 

104 



Loss of the Sea 

the very dirt and filth in which we stood. The little one made 
a foolish attempt to turn his achievement into a joke. This 
only enraged the sergeant, who grasped the little one's 
round, blond bullet-head in his great hands and rubbed his 
ears and face so viciously that it seemed there would not be 
a feature left. The sergeant set him spinning on his pegs as 
he released him and all that could be seen of his head as 
he dashed out of the room was the blood-red glow with 
which it was flushed. The chief of police, who was at heart 
a really fine fellow, was so disgusted that he apologized pro- 
fusely and ordered that I be released. 

It was such incidents as these that made comedy of Rus- 
sian authority in Port Arthur. The most casual observer 
was continually meeting with the incompetence and corrup- 
tion existing among officials, and especially the meannesses 
and futilities of the police. While the Japanese were 
making maps of the inner harbor and the position of the 
fleet outside the harbor, the police were arresting inoffen- 
sive journalists and depriving them of their meals. While 
the enemy's torpedoes were exploding under the Russian 
ships in front of the harbor, naval officers were dandling 
chansonnettes in the cafes chantant! While the Japan- 
ese seamen were cheering as they retired from their attack 
the Russian officers were applauding the ballet at Baroufsky's 
circus, and innocent Russian seamen singing songs of home, 
let drop the accordion to hear with amazement the rush of 
the sea into the ship. 

It was now much more difficult to get into Port Arthur, not 
on account of the police, who worried the merchants and all 
non-official persons, but on account of the military. Mer- 
chants who had had access to the fortress for the purpose 
of closing up their affairs, and those merchants who were 
still catering to the fortress and army, were forbidden to go 
back and forth. But there were numerous refugees from 

105 



The Tragedy of Russia 



time to time and many workmen who deserted it and fur- 
nished a graphic narrative of what transpired there. On 
February 25th the disabled Retzvisan, which still lay like a 
tide-water fort at the harbor entrance, stopped with her guns 
several Japanese merchant hulks which were boldly sent for- 
ward in the night under their own steam for the purpose of 
blocking the harbor entrance. They succeeded in getting in 
under the guns of the forts. One went ashore in front of 
the Retzvisan, one was sunk on the opposite side under 
Golden Hill promontory, and one to the west, under the Wei- 
yuen forts. 

The Japanese hulks were accompanied by torpedo boats, 
which took off their crews who escaped. In the morning of 
the 26th the Japanese fleet reconnoitered Port Arthur Bay 
in force. Three ships appeared southeast about ten miles 
off, and shortly afterward twelve other ships steamed toward 
the harbor entrance from the southwest. The forts opened 
fire, which was returned by the Japanese when they had 
reached a point about four miles abreast the Retzvisan. 
The Baian, Askold and Novik left the harbor in the order 
named, in echelon, concentrating their fire on the head of 
the Japanese line. The firing lasted about one hour, when 
the Askold returned to the harbor with a heavy list to star- 
board and slightly sunken astern, caused by water in her 
after compartment. The Novik was hit forward, but not 
seriously injured. The Japanese line of twelve ships, which 
were first sighted at a distance of eight miles, when they had 
reached within four miles of the forts, steamed away and 
joined the three Japanese ships on the east, where the fleet 
disappeared. 

Vessels of the Japanese fleet which was commanded by 
Admiral Togo were sighted daily on the Kuang-tung coast. 
Port Arthur and Dalny were now systematically invested by 
sea. The Japanese scouted the west coast, where they were 

106 



Loss of the Sea 

repeatedly fired on from the defenses overlooking Pigeon 
Bay. At midnight of Wednesday, March 9th, the Japanese 
fleet began a bombardment of Port Arthur from the direc- 
tion of Pigeon Bay, and from a protected position near the 
Liao-ti-shan promontory. It was estimated that two hundred 
twelve-inch Russian shells captured on the Russian Volunteer 
Fleet steamer Manchuria were thrown into the New Town 
and into the bay and the forts guarding the entrance to the 
harbor. The attack was in effect a comprehensive example 
of all the formidable bombardments by the Japanese through- 
out the year and continuing until the fall of the fortress. 
The Russians described the Japanese fire as greatly superior 
in accuracy to what it had been heretofore. The signal 
stations reported the Japanese fleet of unusual size and it was 
suspected of having transports. 

A part of the fleet under the Liao-ti-shan promontory 
received its firing directions by signal from the main body of 
the fleet at sea. The firing continued until 2 p.m. of the 
10th. The New Town was unsafe in any part, and when the 
bombardment ceased, fragments of shells could be found 
everywhere. Owing to the fact that the buildings in the 
New Town were scattered, and that most of the region 
was unoccupied land, the fire of the Japanese was largely 
ineffective, but the bombardment proved how dangerous 
could be an attack from the sea when the enemy chose to 
shell important parts of the fortress. A squad of twenty 
soldiers was destroyed and three civilians were reported 
killed. One entire family was destroyed by a shell that 
struck the dinner table where they were assembled. Colonel 
Vershinen, the mayor, was slightly wounded. Five houses 
in the New Town and two passenger coaches at the railway 
station were destroyed. Three ships of the fleet were struck 
at their anchorages. The Retzvisan, which had only been 
got off the rocks a short time before, was struck, losing some 

107 



The 'Tragedy of Russia 



men by the shots it received. The Pctropavlovsk and Diana 
were only slightly injured. The Golden Hill forts were 
damaged. 

One of the consequences to the Russians of this successful 
bombardment was the disheartening effect produced by the 
fact that the ammunition was their own, and among the 
hardest things which the Russian soldiers endured through- 
out the whole progress of the war, was the punishment 
inflicted by their own guns and ammunition in the hands of 
the enemy. At the very outset began this grief, which only 
ended with the close of the war and after the captured guns 
of Port Arthur had been turned on the Russian armies at 
Mukden. 

The Japanese fleet had for three weeks effected consider- 
able damage to the fortifications, especially by their fire from 
the Pigeon Bay side of the peninsula, where the Russian 
defenses were inadequate. Defenses were, therefore, ordered 
constructed so as to command the sea there, especially close 
to shore. Signal stations were established with such equip- 
ment as was necessary to identify all ships. The entrench- 
ments and barbed-wire defenses which figured so conspicu- 
ously in the siege by land later on were commenced, and 
artillery from disabled war vessels was distributed, especially 
at points on the west. 

A new life had commenced in Port Arthur. The garrison 
was looking forward to a siege. The civilians remaining 
by invitation of the military had accustomed themselves to 
the state of war and were trying to meet the requirements of 
the military ordinance which governed their affairs. There 
appears to have been some difficulty in their doing this, for 
about this time three merchants were punished for raising 
prices. The restaurants were open and the food supply was 
still normal. As the railway communications were still intact 
such luxuries as fresh caviare could be had. One cafe 

108 



Loss of the Sea 

chantant was still running, although this element, and the 
demi-mondaine who had not been able to enlist as Red Cross 
nurses, were largely in reserve at Liao-yang, where several 
establishments were in existence. The naval band played 
daily in the little park overlooking the naval dock, where 
the workmen were repairing the Pallada. The traffic in 
the streets consisted entirely of ammunition and armaments. 
The fortress administration was bringing in stores, especially 
ammunition, and was building a mud dock as a means of 
repairing the Czarevitch, which was too large for and could 
not be got into the Port Arthur dry dock. 

The Russians had a curious conviction that the Japanese 
ships were being commanded by British officers, a form of 
suspicion which had various manifestations throughout the 
war. The Scotch engineer, having completed the task of 
floating the Retzvisan, departed, and was the last Anglo- 
Saxon in the fortress. 

Admiral Makaroff, who had been sent from St. Peters- 
burg, assumed command of the fleet of the Eastern Empire 
at Port Arthur on the eve of these important Japanese 
attacks, which had the appearance of being offered as a 
form of salutation and reception, especially considering that 
so large a quantity of Russian ammunition had signalized the 
event. Admiral Makaroff was absent at Dalny some time 
during the attacks, inspecting the fortifications there and the 
damages to them, but on Friday, the eleventh of March, on 
board the Novik, he led the depleted fleet out of the harbor, 
and, though no enemy was seen, this exploit, carried out 
so soon after his arrival, excited the admiration of the garri- 
son. For eleven days preceding the bombardment, Port 
Arthur had been free from attack, and was entirely preoccu- 
pied with its internal affairs. 

The arrival of Admiral Makaroff appears to have been 
the signal for precipitating that series of misfortunes which 

109 



The Tragedy of Russia 



rapidly extinguished the entire navy of the Eastern Empire. 
Makaroff was determined to weaken the enemy, and there- 
fore to fight on the high seas as early as possible. Togo 
pursued such tactics as it was hoped would inveigle Makaroff 
into ambush. The Russians had steadily evaded contest with 
the superior Japanese fleet, and were devising plans to rein- 
force with ships from Europe. On account of the disability 
of the Czarevitch, Retzvisan and Pallada, which could not 
possibly be repaired under six months, Makaroff was charged 
with fearing the loss of the fleet if it remained at Port 
Arthur and was believed by the Japanese to wish to 
escape with it and to join the Vladivostok fleet or the Euro- 
pean fleet. The Viceroy Alexeieff's officers took occasion 
to make an official denial of this fear. 

Makaroff for ten days busied the swift cruisers of his 
fleet with scouting, going out as far as twelve miles or more 
with the object of enticing the Japanese within range of the 
fortress artillery. On the night of the twenty-first of March 
the Japanese made a torpedo attack at the harbor entrance, 
and between nine and eleven o'clock in the morning of the 
twenty-second they bombarded the city and harbor as they 
had done on the tenth, using an equal number of the large 
caliber shells taken from the Manchuria. The Japanese 
again used the Liao-ti-shan promontory to conceal their ships. 
During this bombardment the Russian artillerists having 
profited by the Japanese example of indirect fire returned the 
Japanese fire and were able to report having injured one of 
the Japanese ships. The Retzvisan from her anchorage par- 
ticipated in the combat, firing over the promontory. 

The defenses facing the sea were now so effective that 
the casualties from a bombardment by a Japanese fleet were 
largely accidental, and the damage was principally to build- 
ings. The forts carried on experimental firing under direc- 
tion from the ships at sea. The fleet was able to muster nine 

1 10 



Loss of the Sea 

scouting vessels besides a torpedo boat flotilla. Having pre- 
sumably placed himself in control, and by the confidence 
which he inspired established a certain esprit de corps, 
Admiral Makaroff on March 30, 1904, issued this procla- 
mation : 

" The Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Fleet makes known 
what follows: Every vessel of war or of commerce which shall be 
discovered in the Sphere of the Theater of War having no lights by 
night or flags by day and which does not hoist them after having been 
warned to do so by a cannon shot, will be considered as belonging to 
the enemy and will be sunk." 

Official telegrams had announced that Admiral Makaroff 
had taken the entire fleet outside to reconnoiter. This state- 
ment placed the navy of the Eastern Empire in an unexpected 
new light, and together with the commander's proclamation 
showed that with little more than a score of vessels — of 
which five were battle-ships and four were cruisers — Admiral 
Makaroff was resolved if not confident. It was but two 
weeks until the bitter prophecies of the detractors of the 
Russian fleet were ironically justified by the disaster to 
the flagship Petropavlovsk. On Wednesday, April 13th, the 
fleet left the harbor upon the appearance of a small Japanese 
squadron, which they pursued until they came in sight of a 
fleet of twenty-nine ships, when they put about. Within 
sight of the harbor entrance, upon returning, the battle-ship 
Petropavlovsk struck a mine and capsized. The details of 
the tragedy could not be seen from the shore. With Admiral 
Makaroff was his life-long friend, the famous painter Verest- 
chagin, and these gentlemen, together with Admiral Molas, 
forty-five officers and all the crew of 600, save thirty-two 
men, were lost. The ship sank within thirty seconds. 

Grand Duke Cyril was also aboard the Petropavlovsk. 
He related that he was standing on the bridge at the moment 

in 



The Tragedy of Russia 



of the explosion, which threw him from his position onto a 
gun below, from where he fell into the sea and was saved. 
Small boats and sampans put out from the harbor, but were 
too late to render any assistance. Nothing was afterward 
seen but the top of the masts at low tide. It was believed 
at the time that the fleet had been inveigled into ambush 
and that the flagship had remained in the rear of the line 
to protect it from Japanese assault, while the fleet was trying 
to make the harbor, and that it had been torpedoed. This 
seemed credible, especially as at the same time the officials 
reported that the battle-ship Pobeida was damaged amid- 
ships by a mine. The official reports were discredited 
because ships coming in direct contact with mines when in 
motion are damaged forward of the middle. But no other 
account than that the Petropavlovsk struck a Russian float- 
ing mine or a mine previously laid in the fleet's course 
by the Japanese was acceptable. A Russian torpedo boat was 
lost, but the rest of the action was unimportant compared 
with the loss of Makaroff and Veretschagin, and the Petro- 
pavlovsk. The event was one of the profoundest, tragic 
and spectacular in history. It moved the whole world 
at the time. But one other event on sea during the war 
was to be compared to it, and that was the loss of the 
Imperial Russian Fleet under Rodjestvensky, which had sailed 
ten thousand miles to restore a measure of sea power to the 
Eastern Empire. The Japanese official report took no direct 
credit, but simply stated that a torpedo attack was made at 
Port Arthur on the thirteenth, that a Russian torpedo boat 
was sunk and a ship, understood to have been the flagship 
Petropavlovsk, was destroyed by Japanese mines laid at the 
entrance the evening before. 

To the Russians, religious and sentimental as, generally 
speaking, they are, this co-ordination of disasters was super- 
natural, and perhaps there is no people that could withstand 

I 12 



Loss cf the Sea 

the conviction which such disasters inspire of being in their 
nature the interference of God. For twenty-four hours the 
event was kept secret by the Russian officials, although it 
was apparent to the uninformed that some event of unusual 
magnitude had taken place. Those who had occasion to call 
upon officials, found their orderlies in tears. The fate of 
Verestchagin was especially pitiful because he had spent his 
whole life trying to teach the human race peace, and had 
come in his old age to this boiling hot crater, so that he 
might catch perhaps a final horror with which to convince 
mankind. Days after this event one met with high Russian 
officers distracted and preoccupied, and sometimes employ- 
ing little subterfuges against themselves to restrain their tears 
and to divert their thoughts, a phenomenon which will not 
strike as strange those who know how powerful are the 
feelings of a Russian when once moved. 

This crowning disaster to the fleet seemed to terminate 
all promise of any successful adventure by the navy and to 
anticipate its final complete extinction, and at the same time 
it accentuated the conviction that the sea had been finally 
lost to the Eastern Empire and to Russia on the day of the 
opening of the war, when this same Port Arthur squadron 
had been hammered into the harbor entrance, when the 
Chemulpo squadron had been destroyed and the Japan Sea 
cleared of the Vladivostok squadron and of the auxiliary 
ships that were at the time making their way to Eastern 
Empire ports with war material. 



113 



CHAPTER X 

THE PLAN OF WAR 

4T the end of February, after having issued his procla- 
A-\ mation to the Manchurians, Alexeieff visited the 
-*■ ■» Tartar general at his capital at Mukden to impress 
him with the gravity and necessities of the situation and to 
establish the seat of government of the Eastern Empire in 
Mukden, the capital of Manchuria, where he expected to 
secure the co-operation of the native government. On 
March 3d he returned to Port Arthur to remove the govern- 
ment bureaus of the Eastern Empire, which were now largely 
those of civil affairs, since it had been decided in St. Peters- 
burg that the command of the fleet was to be entrusted to 
Makaroff, while the Russian Minister of War, Kouropatkin, 
was to command the Russian Grand Army in person. 

Within a month of the outbreak of hostilities, a plan of 
war was made known. The defense of the outer frontiers 
of the Eastern Empire, according to this plan, was regarded 
as unattainable, and the Government expressed its intention 
of falling back indefinitely before the Japanese advance and 
until the land forces of the Eastern Empire, numbering one 
hundred and twenty-five thousand, so it said, had been 
augmented by troops of the Emperor to three hundred thou- 
sand men. 

The isolation of Port Arthur was a foregone conclusion, 
and one of the first provisions was for establishing wireless 
telegraph communications with the opposite shore of the 
Gulf of Chih-li. The railway to Port Arthur was protected 
to an extent by the natural formation of the country. On 

114 



The Plan of War 



the east was a barrier of hills. It was desired to keep open 
the railway over which supplies were being all the time 
hurried to Port Arthur, as long as possible. 

At the Niu-ch'uang frontier, on the southwest, there was 
an almost indefensible plain, which it was desirable to hold 
as long as possible. Although General Kondradovitch at 
the beginning of April, being able to make a temporary show 
of four thousand troops, declared that he was ready for 
any attack, the Russians had no hope of being able to do this 
after the opening of the Liao River. The fortifying of the 
mouth of the Liao River was simultaneous with the rein- 
forcing of the Kin-chou Isthmus and the fortification of the 
west bank of the Yalu River. Cossack patrols were placed 
along the gulf coast and reached from K'ai-chou westward, 
an outpost being established at Kou-pang-tzu on the Shan- 
hai-kuan Railway in so-called neutral territory. Japanese 
ships had appeared off the coast, and it was considered not 
improbable that scouts and large bodies of troops might be 
landed. It was pointed out that in the sixties, during the 
Anglo-French and China War, French cavalry had been 
landed on the ice on these coasts. 

While patroling the country for seventy-five miles west of 
the Liao River, Alexeieff published his proclamation defining 
the limits of military operations to which the Russian forces 
proposed to confine themselves. The western boundary was 
given as the Liao River on the southwest. As Niu-ch'uang 
was thus exposed to the imminent possibility of invasion, 
and promised to be an early battle-ground, the Russian 
military increased their forces there and the Russian civil 
element itself made preparations to abandon Niu-ch'uang at 
the first alarm. The disasters to the Russian fleet had been 
so fearful that the little gunboat Sivootch sawed off her main- 
mast and began to dismantle. 

The Russians were in great need of troops. Reserves 

"5 



The Tragedy of Russia 



began to arrive in February from Irkutsk and made their 
way south from Harbin. The Japanese were mobilizing in 
northern Korea, and Colonel Madridoff, who had been in 
northern Korea for nearly a year, and had displayed a con- 
siderable force on the Yalu the first week in February, was 
in touch with the Japanese. For picturesqueness, villainy 
and romance his command was conspicuous throughout the 
war. The Third Siberian Brigade (except for two or three 
battalions, in the vicinity of Niu-ch'uang) was distributed 
along the main line of railway; the Tenth Regiment near 
K'ai-chou; the Ninth at Hai-ch'eng, and the Twelfth at 
Liao-yang. The Eleventh Regiment left Niu-ch'uang on 
March 16th and arrived at Ta-shih-ch'iao on the 17th, when 
a simultaneous movement by the entire brigade was made 
eastward to sweep the whole of southern Manchuria to the 
Yalu. Hsu-yen and the Mo-t'ien mountains were passed on 
the twentieth of March and the Yalu was reached and 
occupied from An-tung to Ch'iu-lien-ch'eng at the end of the 
month. 

Fortifications were built at An-tung and at Ch'iu-lien- 
ch'eng. The fortification of Ta-shih-ch'iao, Hai-ch'eng and 
An-shan-chan in the interior was begun. A large military 
park was established at Liao-yang, the army base, whence 
were forwarded re-enforcements of such troops as were 
received to the Yalu by way of the Feng-huang-ch'eng road, 
to the south coast by the main line railway, and to Niu- 
ch'uang. 

The absence of any land conflicts after one month of war 
brought out the criticism upon the Japanese that they had 
failed to follow up the advantage which they had gained 
by the first blow. The first land engagements began to be 
reported in the early days of March. Madridoff's cavalry 
came in contact with the Japanese outposts and exchanged 
shots with them at P'ing-yang on February 28th. On the 

116 



The Plan of War 



eighth of March one Japanese officer and four soldiers, cap- 
tured south of the Yalu, were paraded through the streets 
of Mukden. Toward the end of the month, General Mis- 
chenko was in command of a brigade of cavalry beyond 
the Yalu and reported that the Japanese front parallel to the 
Yalu intersecting An-ju was forty-five miles in length. On the 
26th the Russian forces had retired before these demonstra- 
tions of the enemy to Wi-ju, on the south bank of the Yalu. 
Mischenko engaged a squadron of Japanese cavalry and 
three companies of infantry near Kazan on the An-ju road, 
losing three officers killed and sixteen men wounded. 

On the first of March a Japanese squadron appeared off 
Vladivostok and bombarded the city and fortress, continu- 
ing its attacks, without doing any damage, at intervals for 
a week. Some two hundred shells or so fell inside of the 
fortified zone and it was reported that only about eighty 
of them exploded. The entire coast of the Ussuri province 
was threatened, since now the ice had begun to disappear 
from the harbors. 

A Russian military highway was established south from 
Vladivostok to Possiet Bay, where it was possible for hostile 
forces to land. The Russian and Japanese afterward came 
in touch along the lower course of the Tumen River, but no 
important engagements were fought there until on the eve 
of peace, when a condition of that immortal scandal that 
accompanied every Russian endeavor was disclosed and 
among other things it was found that the Russian commander 
had violated the observance of neutrality established by the 
fact of the existence of peace negotiations. 

By the time the Russian Minister of War, Kouropatkin — 
who had left Russia the middle of March — arrived at the 
army base, Liao-yang, the military forces of the Empire 
of Japan were in contact with the army and fleet of the 
Eastern Empire from Saghalen to Port Arthur in a straight 

117 



The Tragedy of Russia 



line 1,200 miles in length. Russia and Japan were con- 
fronting each other on a line parallel to her frontiers divid- 
ing the Eastern Empire, and along which there were now 
continuous hostilities. 

Kouropatkin began his inspection of the land forces imme- 
diately upon his arrival. On April 6th he visited Niu- 
ch'uang, inspected the breastworks and the installation of 
mines in the river, and reviewed three or four thousand 
troops that had been assembled for the occasion, and which 
represented the defense of the entire north coast of the 
Gulf of Liao-tung from K'ai-chou to the Liao River and 
surveillance of the region extending beyond the Liao to Kou- 
pang-tzu. 

Long before these events the Manchurians had thrashed 
the war to tatters. The foreign military had usurped their 
land at certain points for military reservations and com- 
mandeered their property, and events to them were of greater 
importance than anything that had ever before occurred. 
Curiously enough, their confidence was on the side of the 
Japanese, who had only a few years before successfully 
invaded and conquered all of the country which the Russians 
now proposed to defend, and only ended their campaign 
at An-shan-chan (Saddle Mountain Station), which the 
Russians were hurriedly fortifying. While General Linie- 
vitch, previous to Kouropatkin's arrival, had been busily 
organizing the miscellaneous forces of the Eastern Empire 
gathered from Port Arthur and the eastern provinces of 
Siberia, Manchurian rumor brought the Japanese across the 
Yalu and up the Feng-huang-ch'eng and Hsu-yen roads, 
over the great eastern passes, as well as up the Fu-chou and 
K'ai-chou roads, and even into Port Arthur, precisely in 
accordance with the exploits of the Japanese in the Chinese- 
Japanese War. Native rumor, springing from the premoni- 
tions of those who had observed the prowess of the Japanese 

118 



The Plan of War 



nine years before, would not have attracted the consideration 
of outsiders had it not in every important respect coincided 
with the after course of events. The Russians throughout 
the course of the war observed with what exasperating obsti- 
nacy the Chinese expected and prepared to receive the Japan- 
ese, while adroitly exploiting both armies. 

Native life was practically undisturbed. The intention of 
the Russians was to maintain from the first a generous con- 
sideration for the personal well-being of the Chinese, a 
necessity which as experienced past invaders and conquerors 
they well understood. Troops flowed slowly into the land, 
keeping up a regular military traffic along the railway and 
the roads leading to the Yalu. At first many of the large 
Chinese shops were closed, but the patronage of the military 
soon persuaded them to open and it greatly increased the 
prosperity of the native markets. In places like Liao-yang 
the appropriation of inns, and the encroachment of the mili- 
tary upon temple property and go-downs occasioned great 
inconvenience to the Chinese and some suffering, until some 
recompense could be allowed, but it was found that the 
authorities desired to compensate the natives generously for 
such things as were a military necessity. This does not, 
however, refer to the great mass of injury and injustice which 
was visited upon the helpless by all classes of Russians in 
Manchuria, which will be spoken of in another place. 

General Kouropatkin had not finished his inspection of 
the advanced position in southern Manchuria before Maka- 
roff was lost and the naval branch of the Military was with- 
out a head. This was the greatest emergency which up to 
this time the Eastern Empire had been called upon to meet. 
The effect was more disastrous than if merely a few ships 
had been lost. Although there were several admirals of 
secondary rank at Port Arthur, the loss of Makaroff had 
made such a breach, both in so far as skill and experience 

119 



The Tragedy of Russia 



were concerned, and in mastery over the personnel of the 
fleet, that there was none to name in his place. In this 
serious situation the Viceroy himself, Admiral Alexeieff, 
stepped into the breach. He was at the time established in 
the Manchurian capital in the rear of the military base, but 
he hurried to Port Arthur to encourage and strengthen the 
demoralized garrison, as on the morning of February 9th 
he had appeared on the forts on Golden Hill to cheer the 
artillerymen. 

The outbreak of war had created such bitterness between 
Russians and other nationalities in the East, that even a 
friendly interest in Russian affairs was regarded with suspi- 
cion, and sympathy was looked at askance. But now the 
Russians of the Eastern Empire seemed for the first time 
to pause and think in their mad career, and to feel in the 
universal sympathy for the loss of MakarofI the touch of 
genuine human nature which makes all kin. Of all the 
Port Arthur fleet, besides a small flotilla of torpedo boats, 
only the three battle-ships, Perseviet, Sebastopol and Poltava 
remained uninjured and retained their maximum strength. 
All the cruisers had been hit and more or less seriously 
damaged, either at sea or in the harbor during the various 
bombardments. The Government in St. Petersburg named 
Admiral Skrydloff as Makaroff's successor, but he never 
reached his command, proceeding instead to Vladivostok. 
The isolation of Port Arthur forced Alexeieff to retire north- 
ward and the responsibility for the remnants of the fleet 
devolved upon Admiral Witgeft and Prince Uktomsky. 



120 



CHAPTER XI 

DESTRUCTION OF THE LINE OF DEFENSE OF THE 

EASTERN EMPIRE 

THE land campaign was in full swing when the Rus- 
sians retired from Korean territory in April to the 
first line of defense on the Yalu, where the first 
battle was fought on land. This region had been thoroughly 
examined by the Russian military and they had nearly two 
months in which to fortify it. In March breastworks were 
being built on the west bank at An-tung and natives were 
forbidden to move back and forth across the border. The 
military road from Liao-yang by way of Feng-huang-ch'eng 
began to break up when the thaw set in, and the bridges, 
which were temporary, were in many places partly inundated 
by the melting snows and rains. By the first of April the 
thin line of Russian troops making its way to the Yalu to 
support the advance guard falling back from Korea, was 
struggling under these formidable disadvantages. The sol- 
diers, who had come one hundred miles from the army base, 
where they had detrained, were reported by travelers foot- 
sore and weary. 

It was believed to be the Japanese plan to force the Yalu 
in March, but it was the last of April before they arrived 
there. Notwithstanding their enterprise in mobilizing in 
Korea, they had not been able to advance beyond An-ju 
before the break-up of winter. The two armies, therefore, 
struggled through heavy roads to their meeting place. By 
the last of April General Sassulitch, commanding the Rus- 
sian army, had two small divisions, the third and the sixth, in 
position. About April 2 2d the St. Petersburg Government 

121 



The Tragedy of Russia 



announced that there were 300,000 Russian soldiers in Man- 
churia and that this was enough, and that no more men would 
be sent, at least for the present. Of these 300,000 men 
Sassulitch did not possess more than 15,000 with which 
to defend the first line of defense, although according to 
the plan of war, which it was well understood the Govern- 
ment approved — the magnitude of this force was a matter 
of no great importance, since its duty was to fall back if hard 
pressed. It was sufficient with which to begin on land the 
misfortunes that had commenced on sea. 

The higher Russian military authorities, not in touch with 
the field of operation, held that this army could only serve 
as a buffer in maintaining contact with the Japanese invaders 
but the army itself took an entirely different view. 

The writer, who was not present on the field of the battles 
in the Liao-tung Peninsula, but was at the army base, gives 
the observations of Russians who were present, to connect 
up the narrative of Port Arthur with those other events and 
scenes in which he personally participated. 

The Japanese under Kuroki, numbering at least forty 
thousand, began their attack on the Russian positions at 
Ch'iu-lien-ch'eng and An-tung on the first of May. The 
Twelfth Regiment bore the brunt of Kuroki's attack and was 
supported by the Ninth and Eleventh. The artillery at An- 
tung was silenced by Japanese siege guns at Wi-ju; and the 
Ninth and Eleventh regiments retired on Ch'iu-lien-ch'eng, 
where the Japanese began their determined frontal assaults 
which distinguished the greatest battles of the war. The 
Tenth Regiment retired to the ammunition base in the rear 
of Ch'iu-lien-ch'eng, where were two battalions of the 
Twenty-second Infantry. 

Although General Sassulitch had been warned by Kouro- 
patkin to provide for his retreat, his army was flanked on 
the left, May 2d, the second day of the battle, and the 

122 




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Destruction of the Line of Defense 



Eleventh Regiment, which was to form the rear guard, was 
surrounded. It had to fight its way back. The Twenty- 
second Regiment behaved badly, but the Eleventh distin- 
guished itself according to Russian traditions, charging the 
enemy, with a priest and a brass band at the head. Twenty- 
one field guns and eight machine guns were lost. Seventy 
officers were lost, of whom twenty-six were killed and six 
captured. The losses entire were 2,395, and the army 
retreated in disorder to Feng-huang-ch'eng. 

The Russians discovered at this battle the nature of the 
Japanese tactics and their behavior under fire, and it is but 
a mild statement of the nature of their feelings to say that 
they were surprised. All Russians, including generals, in 
this battle regarded the Japanese as mad in declaring war, 
and ridiculed them. They did not believe that the Japanese 
could bring large guns to the Yalu, and were taken com- 
pletely by surprise when fired upon by fortress guns stationed 
at Wi-ju. The Japanese flanking force appearing from the 
north across the River Ai was likewise a surprise. 

All of the Russian preparations proved to be inadequate, 
as were their ideas. Their trenches were small, for which 
there was no excuse except that they did not believe 
in the necessity of formidable works, but thought that the 
bayonet could do all that the bullet failed in. This confes- 
sion was a lamentable admission of that foolish contempt in 
which the Japanese were held by them. The whole battle 
was a disaster to the Eastern Detachment and a catastrophe 
to the Grand Army. General Sassulitch was condemned 
publicly, was relieved of command and was formally in 
disgrace. The Japanese, who had by the achievements of 
their fleet divided the Eastern Empire, had now broken its 
line of defense. But the Russian general staff reports of the 
Battle of Ch'iu-lien-ch'eng said the Japanese had been 
" butchered like sheep " ! 

123 



CHAPTER XII 



THE CAPITAL SEGREGATED 



THE failure of the sea forces had led the Russians 
to rely upon an engagement inland with which to 
check the Japanese advance. But the nature of 
the Russian defeat on the Yalu was so discouraging that 
the precise nature of subsequent events was widely pro- 
phesied and a feud began among the various elements of 
the Imperial Russian forces which continues to this day. 
The naval element, which had been bitterly reproached by 
the army, looked upon the defeat as something of a vindica- 
tion of themselves. 

The rapid advance of the Japanese along the entire line 
from Ch'iu-lien-ch'eng to Port Arthur now resulted in one 
of the most important battles of the war. General Oku 
began to land an army at Pi-tzii-wo at the north border of 
Russian leased territory and immediately marched upon the 
Kin-chou Isthmus. He arrived at the defenses of the city of 
Kin-chou and Nan-shan on May 21st and began to invest 
them. General Stoessel opposed his attacks for five days 
with about 15,000 troops in extensive defenses. The Rus- 
sian troops at the front were this early strongly impressed 
with the seriousness of the Japanese. The cavalry patrolling 
the coast related that the first landing parties of Oku's army 
waded ashore under fire and ducked under the water to 
escape the bullets, only coming up for air. The Viceroy, 
Alexeieif, escaped from Port Arthur by the last train, which 
was reported struck by Japanese bullets. 

124 



The Capital Segregated 



The Russian works on the isthmus were the most formida- 
ble in the Eastern Empire, except those of Vladivostok and 
Port Arthur. Naval and fortress guns of six and eight-inch 
caliber commanded both the land and sea approaches. It 
took Oku four days to take the outlying positions of General 
Stoessel's army, and General Stoessel, after five hours of the 
most severe attacks that the Russian forces had yet endured, 
retired to his main defenses. During the night of the 25th 
a Japanese gunboat squadron entered Kin-chou Bay and 
on the morning of the 26th, when Oku was ready to attack, 
the Russian positions were enfiladed by the fire of the gun- 
boats. General Stoessel, having been compelled to retire 
from the environs of Kin-chou, now fought in his intrench- 
ments around Nan-shan the last day's defense of the isthmus. 
The storming of these works by the Japanese greatly ex- 
ceeded in desperation the frontal attack at the Yalu. They 
lasted throughout the day and compelled General Stoessel 
to retreat just after dark. The Japanese took possession 
of the isthmus before midnight. 

The first day of the battle opened with an artillery duel, 
in which shrapnel was principally used. In the strong Japan- 
ese frontal attacks, machine guns came into use. The line 
of battle was so curtailed by the narrowness of the isthmus 
that on the morning of the 26th, under cover of the fire from 
their gunboats, Japanese infantry advanced through the 
shallow water on the west, with the idea of turning the Rus- 
sian position. The Russian infantry waded out to meet them 
and a rifle engagement took place in the water, but the 
strategy was sufficient to turn the scale of battle. According 
to the official reports the losses of the Japanese in this attack 
upon fortified positions was considerably greater in propor- 
tion to the loss of the Russians than in any subsequent battles. 
General Kouropatkin does not seem ever to have defended 
any of his elaborate works so economically as General Stoes- 

125 



The Tragedy of Russia 



sel did in the battle of the Kin-chou Isthmus. The Russians 
killed and wounded were 700, including 30 officers. The 
Japanese losses were 4,304, of whom 131 were officers. No 
use was made by General Stoessel of the defenses of Dalny, 
which was itself burned and evacuated immediately after 
the fight. The Japanese deliberately occupied the Kuang- 
tung Peninsula. General Stoessel abandoned the fortress 
artillery at Nan-shan, which had been a part of the original 
defenses of Port Arthur. The Japanese claimed to have 
taken sixty-eight heavy guns and ten machine guns. The 
battle of the Isthmus of Kin-chou further increased the pres- 
tige of the Japanese, and, because it was a signal victory, 
greatly enhanced their reputation. By this battle the Eastern 
Empire lost the leased territory and communication with 
its military capital. At the same time, it could no longer 
claim an inferiority of defensive forces as an excuse for 
defeat. Stoessel abandoned the upper part of the peninsula 
almost before the Japanese could occupy it, falling back 
from his fortifications at Ta-lien-wan and Nangalen. So 
far it was the most desperately fought battle of the war. 




— -T f*C» 



Flight! Chinese family fleeing from troops 



126 



CHAPTER XIII 



LIAO-TUNG LOST 



IN less than two months of the land campaign the 
Empire had been twice divided; once at the Yalu and 
once at the Kin-chou Isthmus. Its fleet and merchant 
marine was detached, crippled, partly destroyed and block- 
aded; its chief fortress was isolated, and its armies, twice 
beaten, were withdrawing at all points touched by the enemy. 

Now that another Japanese army — that of Oku — was 
located, General Kouropatkin gathered an army to send 
against its rear to worry its descent upon Port Arthur and 
to establish hostilities with it, to engage, and to defeat it if 
possible. General Stackelberg, who was a court favorite, 
was placed in command. He had a force of about 35,000 
men — of which the First Siberian Corps constituted the 
bulk — including 3,500 cavalry under General Samsonoff, and 
his army was equipped with ninety guns. He scouted the 
country in Oku's rear and advanced his forces to Wa-fang- 
tien. By this time a new Japanese army, the Fourth Army, 
had been formed and was landing on the east at Ta-ku-shan. 
The Third Japanese Army of Nogi was landing at Dalny 
to besiege Port Arthur, and General Oku, holding the Kin- 
chou Isthmus, turned his main body northward to meet 
Stackelberg's army. 

General Stackelberg showed great anxiety to meet the 
Japanese. He was known as a favorite of the Empress- 
Dowager of Russia, and had come with much acclaim with 
the evident intention of winning the first great victory over 

127 



The Tragedy of Russia 



the enemy. General Oku's fighting force advanced on the 
13th and 14th, when General Stackelberg took up a posi- 
tion to the north of Wa-fang-tien toward Te-li-ssu and 
awaited attack. He announced that he now had the Japan- 
ese in just such a position as he wanted them, and they 
attacked on the morning of the 14th. The battle lasted 
throughout the 15th, during which the Japanese advanced 
fully ten miles. Their attack was distinguished by such 
accuracy of artillery fire as to astonish even the French and 
German military observers who were present. Before the 
close of the first day Stackelberg's center was broken and 
his right by evening was turned in and he should have 
withdrawn in the night. A witness said that after the battle 
got under way the Japanese discovered and put out of action 
one Russian battery within three or four minutes. The 
Russians fell back from their defenses at the Fu-chou River 
and gathered about a temple and village called Te-li-ssu on 
the railway. General Samsonoff reported Japanese infantry 
moving in large bodies to the Russian right, but the reports 
were discredited or ignored. In twenty-four hours the 
inspiration which Stackelberg had thought to infuse into his 
army corps was broken and men were running away. Their 
movements at first could be located by the rising dust, but a 
rain soon set in, such as accompanies prolonged artillery 
firing at such seasons, which removed the threatened danger 
of rout. r- 

The Japanese infantry had established itself in close con- 
tact with the Russian right by dawn and the Japanese 
artillery began to shell the Russian main body. Reserves 
that attempted to check the advance of the Japanese on the 
Russian right, and who hurried forward on the double-quick 
accompanied by Cossacks, were seen a few minutes after 
hurriedly retreating, pursued by shrapnel. By one o'clock 
in the afternoon, all of Stackelberg's army was infected with 

128 



Liao-Tung Lost 

retreat, the soldiers that retired from the positions, pushing 
on to the northward the troops that had been in reserve. 

Having dislodged the Russian artillery in detail, the 
Japanese commander pushed forward his infantry, with 
which he advanced a day's march and sent General Stackel- 
berg with such momentum to the rear that the army did not 
stop until it had reached K'ai-chou, while the camp followers 
did not stop until they had reached Liao-yang, the army 
base. 

General Gerngrosz had made something of a defense on 
the left flank, but when the center and right retired could 
do nothing, and succumbed to the demoralization. Many 
of the officers were disgusted at the performance of the 
troops, which they said was scandalous. About five thousand 
men were killed, wounded and lost, and Stackelberg retired 
by train to K'ai-chou and to Ta-shih-ch'iao. His army spent 
all the day of the 16th and the 17th in the retreat made in 
the rain with great labor over heavy roads to K'ai-chou. The 
battle was a rifle and artillery engagement over a very ex- 
tended field, the First Siberian Corps reaching about ten 
miles. According to the reports of spectators the battle had 
an uncanny nature. " During the whole engagement," said 
an observer, " I only saw of the enemy three horsemen 
who mounted a hill, drew the Russian fire and disappeared." 
The troops themselves, mostly simple peasants, to whom this 
was the first engagement, received the profound impressions 
regarding modern engines of war, which they retained 
throughout the war. The army struggled back to its base 
assisted by the railway, which picked up the wounded and 
stragglers. 

This third battle of the land campaign was likewise a 
disaster. The neutral zone of the leased territory and the 
Peninsula of Liao-tung was lost. The Japanese, it is true, 
withdrew to their base of supplies for recuperation and to 

129 



The Tragedy of Russia 



leave the railway open for the Russians to return. The Rus- 
sians a week afterward scouted the country as far as Wa- 
fang-tien before they encountered Japanese outposts. 

General Stackelberg was relieved of the command and 
returned to Liao-yang to explain his defeat. The entire 
operation was criticised for the reasons that a long advance 
had been made to fight a losing battle, and that Stackelberg 
had placed himself in a position where he might have been 
easily cut off, and that it was only an error on the part of 
General Oku that this was not done. 

The Japanese troops which had landed at Ta-ku-shan 
about the middle of May began to press the Russian line 
in the center of Hsu-yen, and the entire Japanese line had 
covered half the distance from the coast to Liao-yang, the 
Russian base. It now moved forward to the occupation of 
K'ai-chou. General Oku moved up above Wa-fang-tien, 
where he came in contact with the infantry division under 
General Kondradovitch. 

Nodzu's forces from the east that had arrived via Ta-ku- 
shan, began to move west from Hsu-yen on June 21st. On 
the 22d and 23d Russian cavalry met them in skirmishes as 
they advanced upon K'ai-chou. 

On June 25th General Oku's forces on the sea road paral- 
lel with the Liao-tung gulf coast, advanced north from Fu- 
chou to within sixteen kilometers of K'ai-chou. On the 
south and east they were eleven kilometers distant. 

The Japanese troops which had landed at Ta-ku-shan 
followed the boundary line of the neutral zone referred to 
in the Czar's lease of the Kuang-tung territory, and having 
passed Hsu-yen on the road to K'ai-chou, the entire Japanese 
line moved forward, exchanging shots with the Russians, 
who made no important resistance. A Japanese naval 
squadron visited the head of the Liao-tung Gulf. The 
whole peninsula was passing from the Russian grasp. Oku 

130 



Liao-Tung Lost 

rapidly cleared it of Russian outposts. On the 28th the 
Japanese shelled the K'ai-chou railway station and took pos- 
session of the town, completing their occupation of the entire 
Liao-tung Peninsula, and now possessed all of Kuang-tung 
and the neutral zone there, except Port Arthur, which was by 
this time closely invested by Nogi. Simultaneous with the 
advance up the Fu-chou road on June 25th, the Ta-ku-shan 
column moved up from Hsu-yen and on the day Oku entered 
K'ai-chou occupied the first of the large mountain passes on 
the road to Hai-ch'eng. Ta-shih-ch'iao, on the main line 
railway at the intersection of the Niu-ch'uang branch, was 
now but seventeen miles distant, the possession of which by 
the Japanese would deprive the Eastern Empire of its south- 
ern sea. By this time the interior affairs of the Eastern 
Empire, owing to the duress of the army and the distress of 
Russia, the congestion of native commerce, the hope and 
need of victory, the war traffic on the railway line of com- 
munication, had reached a state of which the smallest details 
were the chief news of the world. 



13* 



CHAPTER XIV 

THE ARMY BASE A NEW MILITARY CAPITAL 

WHEN Kouropatkin arrived in Manchuria the first 
of April there was the nucleus of an army col- 
lected there under the direction of General Linie- 
vitch, who now retired to Harbarvosk, the capital of the 
Ussuri Province, where he had been in command of the 
military forces of the Primorsk, and from where he had 
come. It was a very miscellaneous Grand Army, and was 
named by the War Department The Manchurian Army. 

By the last of April the interior towns along the railway 
had an unprecedented appearance. The gay pink and red 
shirts of the Siberian reserves and camp followers, espe- 
cially to be seen in the hamlets of An-shan-chan and Ta- 
shih-ch'iao gave them a gala appearance. At these places 
had already arrived Siberian artillery, which could be seen 
on a sunny day maneuvering in the plains. In lieu of sap- 
pers, the Engineers' Department had employed large gangs 
of Chinese workmen who were scoring the hillsides with 
trenches, especially at An-shan-chan, which was a picturesque 
spot and a strong natural position. Little redoubts and rifle 
trenches were plainly visible on the smaller elevations. 

Similar activities were going on along the mountain roads 
radiating from Liao-yang to the southeast and east, where 
a second line of defense, which on the south began at Ta- 
shih-ch'iao, swept in a semicircle to the northeast through 
Feng-shui-ling, Lien-shan-kuan on the Feng-huang-ch'eng 
road to the upper Tai-tzu River. 

132 



The Army Base — A New Military Capital 

Liao-yang, the army base, with a native population of 
perhaps 80,000, on the left bank of the T'ai-tzii, is an ancient 
walled city, which was eminent as the capital of the State of 
Liao before the existence of Mukden, the capital of the 
Manchus, though only the relics of its ancient state are to be 
seen adjoining the present city on the north. It is set in a 
beautiful plain with a semicircle of hills on the south and 
east, three or four miles distant. Opposite the northwest 
corner of the city wall is an ancient thirteen-story pagoda. 
It overlooks the native city and the silver T'ai-tzu coming 
down out of the hills on the east, and on the west the railway 
settlement more than a mile in length, which w T as now the 
busy scene of military activity. In the rainy season it cast 
its reflection in an expanse of water reaching a quarter of a 
mile to the railway station, for the settlement at such times 
became a lake. 

The Russians in Manchuria, who prided themselves upon 
imitating the Americans of the West, first built the houses 
and left the building of streets for the indefinite future. In 
the beginning the Russian railway had been obliged to give 
all walled cities a wide berth of more than three miles, but 
now it passed opposite the gates, and in this place the Chinese 
city itself had been altered to conform to the requirements 
of the settlement. 

Already disgraced in the eyes of the Chinese by the 
encroachments of the railway, Liao-yang was now com- 
pletely degraded by breaches made in all the walls. The 
Russian engineers, having laid out a military park several 
miles square adjoining the city on the west and constructed 
military roads in all directions, had taken out wide sections 
of the walls. A city without proper walls is to the Chinese 
like a person without proper clothes. 

The defenses of this army base were already under con- 
struction and the Russian engineers proceeded exactly as 

133 



The Tragedy of Russia 



though they were making a stronghold of the native city 
whose fortifications they utilized. A fort was built at the 
northwest corner, and around the south wall was a line of 
earthworks intersecting two great redoubts. A levee was 
built along the T'ai-tzu to prevent these works from being 
submerged in case of flood, and the city was made to be a 
military extension of the high ground which approached it 
on the opposite bank of the river from the northeast. It 
is interesting to note that the strategy of the Japanese, as 
in all the other battles of the war, gave character to the 
battle of Liao-yang and prevented the city itself being 
turned into a battle-ground. Had this not happened in this 
case, it would have been an international crime, and it does 
not appear that the Russian military were entirely innocent 
of this design, although they had relied upon expelling the 
natives from the city in case it had been besieged. On the 
last day of the battle of Liao-yang the Russian commissare 
ordered the native officials to send the inhabitants away 
within twenty-four hours. The defensive native walls of the 
City of Liao-yang formed the western extension of the forti- 
fied eminences on the north bank of the T'ai-tzu River that 
defended the T'ai-tzu valley, and the fact that this order 
was given, together with the circumstance that the later plans 
of Russian fortifications did not involve the use of the exist- 
ing defenses of native cities, seems to show that the Rus- 
sians up to that time were 'indifferent to the people of 
the country and were prepared, so long as they believed in 
their all-sufficient strength, to make any sacrifices of the inno- 
cent inhabitants. 

So completely was Liao-yang dominated by the Russian 
military that it may be said to have received its character 
from them. It was the only Chinese city in Manchuria, 
except Port Arthur and Harbin, where the native life was 
so overshadowed by the foreigners. Camp followers opened 

134 




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The Army Base — A New Military Capital 

hotels, restaurants and stores, and all the streets were orna- 
mented with Russian signs. There were music halls and 
cafes chantant. Part of the Port Arthur demi-mondaine and 
chansonnettes took residence there, and it was said that seven 
gay establishments testified to their prosperity. All the 
native hostelries and temple buildings were appropriated 
for the use of troops. Sentries stood at the city gates and 
openings in the walls, and military police patrolled the 
streets. 

The military reservation, of which the settlement was the 
center, was in dry weather a flat expanse, clouded with dust 
stirred up by the Mongolian winds, and in wet weather a 
low land of mire from which men and horses could at all 
times be seen trying to extricate themselves. All of the 
native buildings in the reservation were converted into lodg- 
ing-houses, restaurants and shops of all kinds. Under the 
city wall were the engineers' stores and machine shops; next 
came the Pagoda, where a restaurant was installed among 
the trees that had been a part of the temple grounds sur- 
rounding it, and here on summer evenings a band played, 
while the officers gathered for recreation. Next came the 
settlement buildings in Russian style, built for the accommo- 
dation of railway employees, but like everything connected 
with the Russian Government — and especially the steel 
coaches and the frontier guard of the railway — instantly 
convertible to the requirements of war. The military post- 
office, telegraphs, Red. Cross, commissariat, and the general 
staff were now installed there. The commander-in-chief, 
General Kouropatkin, was established in a house opposite 
the station and partly cut off from view of it by a little 
wooden church in which official religious services were con- 
ducted upon all occasions. Beside his house was a pavilion 
extending over and sheltering a special train, in which the 
commander-in-chief spent much of his time, either at his 

135 



The Tragedy of Russia 



headquarters here or at some point on the railway. The 
pavalion was decorated with bunting and the headquarters' 
flag waved from a mast near by. The Grand Duke Boris 
was a guest of the commander-in-chief and a member of his 
staff, and occupied a house of his own, which was one of the 
sights of the army base. 

West of the railway were the engine sheds, sidings and 
army stores. Ten to twenty locomotives stood on the sid- 
ings and were to be seen at all times shifting trains. It was 
a busy place, where every day the unloading of war materials, 
detraining of troops, and the extension of railway tracks and 
go-downs was going on. The borders of the reservation 
were soon dotted with camps. There were no regular bar- 
racks, and the troops that did not go at once to the positions 
were detained under canvas. The center of this scene was 
the railway station building extending one hundred yards 
along the east side of the main track and fortified on the 
north by a water tower and on the south by an immense 
magazine. It was a gray brick building of one story, the 
central section of which was occupied by a cafe and restau- 
rant. This was the center of supreme interest. The gravel 
platform in front, where passengers from Europe and 
Siberia arrived and departed, was, in fair weather, dotted 
here and there with little tables at which men sat and drank 
amber-colored tea and liquors from beveled glasses, smoked 
cigarettes and ate their meals. The dining room flanking 
it had three long tables and a zakouska bar. There was 
an electric light plant, and in Manchuria there was almost 
a deluge of Russian and American kerosene, so that all assem- 
blies were brilliantly lighted. 

On a summer evening with the arrival of the military 
express from Moscow, the flash of headlights, the glitter of 
decorations and accouterments, such as the officers represent- 
ing every tribe and nationality bore, rivaled the glow of 

136 



The Army Base — A New Military Capital 

the kerosene lamps in the brilliance which they contributed to 
the scene. 

Opposite the entrance to the station was a little square 
which had contained a flower bed, and back of this was a 
stand where a band sometimes played. About it troops were 
by day drawn up in review. At the station platform official 
dignitaries arriving in their special cars stopped to call on 
the commander-in-chief. The visitors would include the 
Viceroy Alexeieff, who would come down from Mukden to 
give and take counsel, and Prince Khilkoff, in charge of and 
responsible for the maintenance and operation of the great 
railway from Russia, which was the reliance of the Eastern 
Empire and therefore of the Government in St. Petersburg, 
the Czar and the Bureaucracy. There were also the numer- 
ous special hospital trains, equipped, paid for and main- 
tained by members of the royal family, principally the ladies, 
and in charge of the younger princes and princesses. On 
such occasions the commander-in-chief, General Kouropatkin, 
with his numerous staff, could be seen making a formal 
inspection of them. The platform would be. vacated in defer- 
ence to him, and with his staff he could be observed to parade 
abreast the station, with his brilliant company the length 
of several coaches. On his left, the Grand Duke Boris; on 
his right, his chief of staff, General Sakaroff, or Kharke- 
vitch, the quartermaster general, with seven or eight other 
officers of rank. Most picturesque of all was General Kouro- 
patkin's personal Caucasian guard and orderly, in his long 
brown homespun surtout, his decorations dating from the 
days of Skobeleff, his astrakan cap shoved away from his 
forehead, and his showy Caucasian saber, dagger and orna- 
mental cartridges. 

Troops were arriving from Russia at the rate of one thou- 
sand to fifteen hundred a day. During the month of May, 
when the Eastern Detachment was retreating from Ch'iu- 

137 



The Tragedy of Russia 



lien-ch'eng before Kuroki, the transportation department 
claimed to have delivered 45,000 men at Liao-yang, Hai- 
ch'eng and Ta-shih-ch'iao; and 125,000 could not have been 
an overestimate of the number of Russian troops actively 
in the field and located along the second line of defense, lead- 
ing from Ta-shih-ch'iao to the headquarters of the T'ai-tzii. 
General Kouropatkin had busied himself with a personal 
inspection of every position and every line of communication 
leading out of Liao-yang, in this quarter circle, and was 
watching the assembling of the enemy about him. 



r 



138 



CHAPTER XV 

KUROKl'S INVASION AND THE EASTERN DETACHMENT 

THE first impressions received at the army base of 
the battle of Ch'iu-lien-ch'eng, the first large bat- 
tle of the war, were derived from the wounded, who 
traveled as rapidly as the news itself. The testimony of mili- 
tary experts, both on the battlefield and off, was that the war 
would continue upon the same lines, and that the Russians 
would never gain a battle. Although this seemed an un- 
friendly prophecy there was not a day in the history of 
the Liao-yang-Feng-huang-ch'eng road when the wounded 
and the telegraphs did not bring back stories of reverses. 
General Sassulitch, in falling back from the Yalu, retreated 
to the interior mountains. He made no attempt to defend 
the city or the region of Feng-huang-ch'eng, for there was 
no position there, and he passed on without stop to the main 
position of Feng-shui-ling, a range of mountains barring the 
road to the Mo-t'ien-ling range. General Keller met the 
detachment at Tun-yuan-p'u on the seventh of June to take 
the place of General Sassulitch. He brought with him many 
decorations which he distributed among the officers and 
men — principally of the Eleventh and Twelfth regiments — 
who had distinguished themselves on the Yalu. The force 
was attacked on the same day in the front and on both flanks 
by infantry and cavalry and forced to retire, though the 
place was reoccupied the next day. 

On the twenty-sixth of June, when Stackelberg's corps was 
back at K'ai-chou, the Eastern Detachment occupied the 
mountain passes of Feng-shui-ling, San-t'ou-ling and Mo-du- 

139 



The Tragedy of Russia 



ling in the Feng-shui-ling range. On the 28th, when Oku 
occupied K'ai-chou and the big pass northwest of Hsu-yen 
on the Hai-ch'eng road, the Eastern Detachment abandoned 
the big line of mountains in front of the Mo-tien-ling range 
and occupied the Pass of Three Pagodas or T'a-k'ou-ling 
and the Pass Si-k'a-ling and the Village of Ku-chia-p'u-tzu. 
On the twenty-ninth of June the Eastern Detachment, with 
headquarters at Ho-yen, was fronting eastward with the main 
force distributed on the mountains on the left bank of the 
Lang River, the cavalry working in the valley in front. 
Before the activities of General Kuroki, carried on, the Rus- 
sian under-officers asserted, to divert them from more serious 
attempts to relieve Port Arthur, the Eastern Detachment 
had fallen back forty miles without a fight. 

In June the summer rains set in, effectually suspending any 
extensive military operations. Toward the end of the month, 
when the Japanese forces from Hsu-yen arrived at the Great 
Pass, in the south of the Feng-shui-ling range on the road 
to Hai-ch'eng, General Kouropatkin visited the spot and 
looked down upon the Japanese army and then retired. His 
action in constantly submitting to the Japanese initiative gave 
the impression that the Japanese were pushing hard in all 
the mountain passes. Military operations were so difficult 
that no defense of the Pass was made. The Japanese retired 
to dry ground. The Russian^ sent back their Red Cross 
and baggage and remained inactive on account of the mud. 
Kouropatkin ordered the column of forty battalions which 
he had headed to retire, and after a day the pass was occu- 
pied by the Japanese with opposition. 

The roads in the great Liao plain were impassable, while 
the upland bogs, which prevail in all the central Manchu- 
rian mountains, were dangerous. Owing to the demonstra- 
tions of Kuroki, who was now within little more than sixty 
miles of Liao-yang on the east, the bulk of the troops were 

140 



Kurokis Invasion and the Eastern Detachment 

being detrained at Liao-yang station and kept moving in 
the direction of Mo-tien-ling down the Feng-huang-ch'eng 
road. 

The situation of the Russian soldiers may be imagined 
from a description of the life and surroundings of the officers 
and civilians, who may be said to have lived a life of luxury 
within the walls of Liao-yang. The native houses were old, 
and being low, with floors on the ground, were now damp 
and musty. They were lower than the streets, and the 
courts around them were sometimes flooded by streams of the 
dirtiest water flowing in through the gates. It required some- 
times several servants, with mattocks and shovels, to keep 
it dammed back away from the doors. The streets were 
long canals of liquid mud, dammed up along the sides with 
drier earth by the shopkeepers between rains. Chinese 
coolies carried on the work of transporting pedestrians on 
their backs through and across these barriers, and were 
forced to dodge the horses and wagons, with which the 
streets were always full. 

It was impossible to escape the flying mud even in the 
shops. The so-called hotels and lodging-houses were at all 
times strewn with mud, the approaches and porticoes drenched 
with rain, the bedding damp, and the table accessories wet. 
It might have been believed to be the cause of Russian dissi- 
pation, for it was sufficient to drive the civil as well as the 
military to drink. 

In the beginning of July, in the height of the wet season, 
I traveled over the Feng-huang-ch'eng road to the Mo-t'ien- 
ling. At three o'clock in the afternoon, when I left the 
native inn where I lived in the city, it was raining hard. 
Scattered along the street leading out of the east gate and 
through the lumber village on the banks of the T'ai-tzu 
were foot soldiers with wagons and baggage. Some of them 
were carrying their blanket-rolls and all of them their rifles, 

141 



The Tragedy of Russia 



and the water with which they were saturated must have 
added ten to twenty pounds weight to their burdens. On the 
banks of the T'ai-tzii the earthworks connecting the city with 
the hills on the north bank appeared to be dissolving, and 
were filling up with water. In the plain beyond the defenses, 
both baggage wagons and artillery sunken to their axle-trees 
in the mud, were abandoned, with here and there an occa- 
sional guard who could be obscurely seen in the downpour. 
Where the roadway crossed a little rivulet the wagons and 
caissons were fording the swollen waters and a crowd had 
gathered here. The rain was pitiless, and the soldiers, down 
whose faces and from whose clothing the water was run- 
ning, though chattering with cold, were laughing at their 
comrades in the stream who were trying to locate a baggage 
wagon that had entirely disappeared. Some of us had water- 
proofs, but these were not adequate to keep out the rain. 

About six miles from Liao-yang the road entered the hills 
and for the most part lay in the bed of a swollen stream. 
The current was swift, and the artillery and wagons were 
bowling over the rocks. Just as it began to get dark artillery 
horses that had gotten safely to the end of the day's march 
were coming back to help out the artillery and wagons that 
were stalled in the plain. 

About seven o'clock I arrived at the quarter etaph at 
Wang-pao-t'ai. A Russian etaph is — considering the uncer- 
tainties of war — a model of convenience. A Russian is by 
nature and training well suited to play the host, and, unless 
he be a man of the lower classes, he will have about him a 
degree of comfort equal to the greatest possibilities of the 
situation. But in order to fare well at a military etaph one 
must provide his own food and bedding. Owing to a con- 
spiracy of the military my baggage did not arrive, and I 
dined from a bottle of gherkins and some bread given me 
by the commander of the etaph, and tea — which is always 

142 



Kuroki s Invasion and the Eastern Detachment 

to be had among Russians — and then laid down on the brick 
kang, with my wet saddle blanket over me, to spend the night. 

In the morning my clothing was still wet, but the sky had 
cleared and the earth was steaming under a bright Man- 
churian sun. It was July 5th, and the Eastern Detachment, 
under General Keller, had executed its first offensive battle 
of the war. A few wounded were met on the road, car- 
ried on stretchers and accompanied by guards. The field 
hospitals had been moved back ten miles toward Liao-yang 
as if in anticipation of further reverses, and the entire line 
of communication was in a state of anticipation and excite- 
ment. At Liang-chi-shan, the first etaph, thirty miles from 
Liao-yang, six wounded, including a very pale officer, were 
carried by in litters. Orders had been received to prepare 
for a large number of wounded and the commandant of the 
etaph said he had been notified that he would be expected 
to assist in the forwarding of at least 4,000 wounded from 
the battle, that begun on the evening of the 3d, and which was 
expected to go on. At the same time he complained of 
having to build walks about the etaph, which, he said, was 
only preparing for the comfort of the Japanese who would 
soon arrive ! 

Liang-chi-shan was in the valley of the T'ang, and the 
road to the Mo-t'i en-ling ascended a little affluent and passed 
over the Pass Yang-tzu-ling into the valley of the Lang, on 
the banks of which was the Village of T'ien-shui-tsan. Gen- 
eral Keller, aroused by the Japanese demonstrations, had 
undertaken to reconnoiter the Three Pagoda Pass, with the 
object of ultimately getting to the third etaph at Lien-shan- 
kuan, where a strong artillery and infantry position with 
emplacements for a division of artillery, and trenches with 
wire entanglements, had been occupied by the Eastern 
Detachment on the twenty-sixth of June and abandoned on 
the 27th. General Keller's headquarters were at the head of 

143 



The Tragedy of Russia 



a little affluent of the T'ang River just inside the Pass 
Yang-tzu-ling, and the main position was a few miles beyond 
on the left bank of the Lang — a picturesque site marked by 
the To-wan Pagoda, from which a magnificent view could 
be had of the Mo-t'ien-ling group of mountains, rising like 
a vast tumulus of blue-green jade. The force, which was 
called the Twenty-first Regiment, advanced on the night of 
the 3d across the river Lang, past T'ien-shui-tsan and Ho-yen, 
and having arrived under cover of the fog very near the 
Japanese outposts, charged with their bayonets. About a 
third of the regiment succeeded in reaching the Japanese 
on the slope leading to the pass, but were confused by Japan- 
ese counter attacks. The fighting was hot. The movement 
was unsuccessful, and the whole force, after losing three hun- 
dred men, withdrew at dawn to its position inside To-wan, 
pursued by the Japanese until it reached the protection of 
its own intrenchments there. 

July 6th the rear of General Keller's army presented the 
appearance of great animation, such as exists at the inaugu- 
ration of a promising battle. For several miles the roadways 
were packed with re-enforcements hurrying on to General 
Keller. They were marching in dense columns. In the 
fords of the rivers the infantrymen, carrying their boots and 
trousers on their backs, were in black masses. It looked as 
though Kouropatkin had been aroused at last to an appre- 
hension of a descent by Kuroki upon Liao-yang, the possi- 
bility of which was now a veritable alarm. 



144 



CHAPTER XVI 

REPULSE OF THE EASTERN DETACHMENT AND LOSS OF THE 
WHOLE NEW COAST OF THE EASTERN EMPIRE 

THE Japanese strategy, if such it was, in closing up 
and occupying the Mo-t'ien-ling range at a time 
when the Russians were expected to attempt to 
relieve Port Arthur by land, was successful in two ways, for 
there was no resistance, and at the same time it attracted the 
main Russian re-enforcements. It was not until the great 
position at Mo-t'ien-ling was lost that Kouropatkin diverted 
the bulk of the Russian re-enforcements to the east, and he 
then began what proved a frantic and impotent effort to 
regain what had been given away. 

General Oku had been able to move up on the south 
and prepare for the Battle of Ta-shih-ch'iao when the East- 
ern Detachment had met its re-enforcements on the western 
slopes of the Mo-t'ien-ling and was now the full strength of 
an army corps. 

The Eastern Detachment apparently felt the importance 
of an offensive movement, especially as the whole Grand 
Army was not yet ready to fall back upon Liao-yang for 
the final great battle. General Keller formed new plans after 
the defeat of his Twenty-first Regiment on the 4th, and 
attacked the Japanese on the seventeenth of July in their 
position at Mo-t'ien-ling, returning in force the hostility that 
had been visited upon him. 

This was the first Russian offensive battle on the Feng- 
huang-ch'eng road. Outpost fighting had been reported 
over the entire half circle from Ta-shih-ch'iao to the T'ai- 

H5 



The Tragedy of Russia 



tzii when it began. Re-enforcements were obtained and a 
new disposition of forces made to carry out the innovation. 
The first part of August the newly arrived Seventeenth Corps 
was sent to An-p'ing, but a part of General Keller's force had 
also been detached under Herschelman to strengthen the 
extreme left flank of the Eastern Detachment, which had 
reported the advance through Ai-yang-men and Sai-ma-chi 
of a Japanese division. The Seventeenth then fell back in 
reserve north of the Tai-tzii in the plain and the force under 
Herschelman became the Tenth Corps. Its position was on 
the An-p'ing road, which was a direct route to Liao-yang. 
The Eastern Detachment occupied a ridge of mountains run- 
ning north and south along the west bank of the Lang. 
Fifteen miles north of it was the An-p'ing road, which crossed 
the Lang, and crossing the pass Yu-shu-ling entered the 
valley of the Shi, a companion river to the Lang here for 
twelve miles flowing due west. Hershelman's position was at 
Shi-ho-yen, where an affluent from the south joined the main 
stream and communicated with the main pass of the Mo- 
t'ien-ling. 

General Keller advanced a strong arm of infantry north- 
ward down the valley and across the Lang, where it entered 
the rugged hills opposite T'ien-shui-tien, and took up a posi- 
tion close to the Japanese right. It had a line of retreat by 
way of Si-pien-ling — a pass — and by the Lang through 
Chiu-tsai-yu. By dawn of the 17th, infantry were in position 
from this advanced point through the rough mountains to 
T'ien-shui-tsan in front of the To-wan pagoda and to the 
right of To-wan, where they had already in the night 
attacked the Japanese. 

Long after dawn the Russians continued to strengthen 
the position taken up by their troops in the night, and they 
moved up and occupied a long ridge immediately opposite 
the Mo-t'ien-ling. The lines were very close together, espe- 

146 



Repulse of the Eastern Detachment 



cially at the extremities; but within less than two hours the 
Japanese had occupied the left center of the Russian position, 
while the Russian infantry, moving to support the line at this 
place by marching after the traditional fashion — in close 
formation — were practically annihilated by the Japanese 
artillery. Fully 300 men were lost before they had reached 
a position where they could see the enemy, or had taken 
any part in the fighting. The left flank gave way, and by 
ten o'clock in the morning the entire Russian frontal attack 
relaxed. At noon Keller pressed his attack from the direc- 
tion of Si-pien-ling and Chiu-tsai-yu, and in addition a 
counter attack to relieve the pressure opposite Mo-t'ien-ling 
was made on the Japanese right by way of the Shi-ho-yen 
road leading up the Shi River. The effort began to fail 
about the middle of the afternoon and the Russian line 
retired. Those troops which had been in position imme- 
diately opposite Mo-t'ien-ling were attacked from the south 
as they approached T'ien-shui-tsan en route to To-wan. 
They believed themselves flanked and lost heavily as they 
crossed the valley to regain their old position. They took 
no account of the force of Japanese, who thus attempted to 
cut them off, and doggedly endured the punishment meted 
out to them while regaining their old position. They carried 
off their wounded, making no attempt to displace the Japan- 
ese, who it was afterward seen had got to the crest of the hill 
immediately to the east of Tien-shui-tsan. The losses in 
killed and wounded reached more than 1,200 by five o'clock 
in the afternoon, when firing was no longer to be heard. 
The Japanese took possession of the battlefield, but did not 
pursue the Russians, who retired in good order and main- 
tained their outposts a little beyond T'ien-shui-tsan. The 
troops that had attacked the Japanese right retired by way of 
the Si-pien-ling. The retreat continued throughout the night. 
The scene of the battle was entirely evacuated within twenty- 

147 



The Tragedy of Russia 



four hours, and the Japanese were in possession of the battle- 
field, together with the approaches from the Lanhua and 
Hsin-kai passes, by which they had distressed the Russian 
right flank. On the 19th the knapsacks and other accouter- 
ments that were a part of the debris of the battlefield were 
being gathered up and were to be seen in piles at intervals 
all along the road from Yang-tzu-ling to the Lang. Farther 
on, at the village of T'ien-shui-tsan were the bodies of several 
horses that had been killed by the fire. 

The battle, said a Chinese, was begun at six o'clock in 
the morning " by the Japanese," and at ten o'clock the Rus- 
sians began to reply, continuing with their artillery until 
three o'clock in the afternoon. The Japanese, said he, had 
flanked by way of the " Blue Flower Pass " (Lan-hua-ling) 
and the " New Road Pass" (Hsin-kai-ling). The place 
was now under fire from the Japanese outposts, but other- 
wise the scene was very quiet. To the right and left could 
be seen the Russian outposts scouting the hillsides. The 
natives were undisturbed, and a Chinese shopkeeper said that 
only one Chinese had been wounded in the battle there. 

A little lower down the River Lang could be heard the 
Russian artillery at Chiu-tsai-yu and along the position 
through Pien-ling to the Shi River on the north where the 
forces of General Hershelman were suddenly placed on the 
defensive. General Kuroki, taking advantage of his success 
of the 17th, had taken the offensive on the An-p'ing road 
and had inaugurated the battle of Shi-ho-yen. General 
Keller at the time was sending an infantry brigade with 
artillery to occupy the new position at Liang-chi-shan and 
making no attempt to counteract Kuroki's attack on Her- 
shelman. 

On the afternoon of the 1 8th three hundred and fifty 
wounded en route to Liao-yang were met on the same road- 
way. Those slightly wounded were being hauled in carts, 

148 




too 

G 



O 



C3 

PQ 

<u 

42 



Si 

<u 



r~ 



Repulse of the Eastern Detachment 

sometimes thirty to forty carts in a train. At intervals for 
thirty miles were groups of stretcher-bearers carrying the 
severely wounded on their shoulders. In some cases native 
Chinese were employed as relay carriers. They were seen 
wading the mountain streams and rivers with their burdens, 
or toiling along in the upland valleys under the hot sun. 
It was dusty — the feet of the soldiers were parched by the 
hot dust and there seemed to be miles of transport mingled 
with them and from which the dust rose in clouds. This 
road of communication had for days been lined with dis- 
abled carts and the dead bodies of animals. Late in the 
afternoon fully a mile's length of artillery and ammunition 
wagons were making their way down a little affluent from 
Yang-tzu-ling to Liang-chi-shan. The Thirty-fourth Regi- 
ment passed by, en route to Liang-chi-shan, followed by the 
Eleventh Siberian Rifles at sundown, while all through the 
night artillery and baggage rattled through the ctony bed 
of the little affluent of the T'ang leading back of the Yang- 
tzu-ling. 

Some of the company commanders in these regiments 
were gray-whiskered men long past middle age, making 
their way sorrowfully with their disheartened troops, for 
they had just shared in the defeat at Mo-t'ien-ling. As 
officers of the Eastern Detachment they had often been 
charged with incompetency, and it had been frequently said 
that to their lack of knowledge of the country they added a 
lack of knowledge of the use of military maps. Even colonels 
on the battlefield had been found unable to give their relative 
position and that of their troops on the map. And while 
this force, which had just been defeated, was making its sad 
withdrawal, Hershelman was timidly fighting another defeat 
to be added to the list of Russian disasters. 

When on the south the Japanese were approaching K'ai- 
chou at the head of the Liao-tung Gulf, the Russian outposts 

149 



The Tragedy of Russia 



on the east under Rennencamp reported bodies of Japanese 
of the strength of three regiments with eighteen guns in 
one place, and as much as three battalions with six guns and 
four squadrons of cavalry in the region of Ai-yang-men on 
the Sai-ma-chi road. This was General Kuroki's extreme 
right flank. They reached Shi-ho-yen on the upper Shi River 
the middle of July, and when General Keller was repulsed 
promptly attacked the Russian prepared position. 

General Hershelman occupied a ridge which directly cut 
off the Japanese advance. To reach the position which he 
occupied from Liao-yang, one took the direct road leading 
through An-p'ing, Ku-chia-tzu and Yu-shu-ling — a pass. 
The Yu-shu-ling divides the Lang from the Shi River, except 
that after descending from the Yu-shu-ling one passes 
through a recess a mile and a half broad ending at a long 
ridge barring the way and commanding the valley of the 
Shi River, which flows at its base. Here the road was 
improved and let the traveler over the ridge into the valley. 
Continuing eastward, without having to cross the river, one 
reached an almost identical position ten miles farther on. 
A ridge about the same height, say an hundred feet, com- 
mands the approaches from the east down the little valleys 
of the headwaters of the Shi. Two small streams unite at 
this point, flowing around the north end of the ridge. 

On the morning of the eighteenth of July the Japanese 
moved up to General Hershelman's outlying position, and in 
the afternoon the Russian troops fell back to their main posi- 
tion on the ridge, deploying into the trenches and opening 
the battle with artillery and rifle fire, which was continued 
until several hours after dark. At dawn of the 19th the situ- 
ation was apparently unchanged and remained so during an 
artillery engagement lasting four hours. But toward the 
middle of the afternoon the Japanese succeeded in flanking 
the force on the ridge, arriving on Hershelman's right before 

150 



Repulse of the Eastern Detachment Acl?^ UBRjf 
_ 2 wr ON, IBM 

he could entirely withdraw his force, which consisted of two 
regiments with artillery. As usual the Russian infantry 
retired in order, but at about five o'clock the rear-guard 
remnant, left to stay the Japanese infantry advance, fell into 
confusion under the Japanese artillery fire and retreated in 
disorder. While their comrades were re-forming, a half mile 
in the rear, the Japanese again flanked from the same direc- 
tion, partly cutting off their retreat. In fighting their way 
back to their reserves they suffered a loss equal to two-thirds 
of the day's casualties and retired ten miles to the position 
in front of Yu-shu-ling during the night. 

These military adventures appear to challenge belief, but 
it seems futile and ungracious to presume to make any mili- 
tary criticisms of them. When one has testified to the cha- 
grin and mortification among intelligent Russian officers and 
to the dismay of the intelligent soldiers who see their army 
in flight and their comrades, baggage and accouterments 
disappear captive to the enemy, enough of the story has been 
told for the purpose of human history. But if there is a way 
by which the military expert may explain these adventures, 
there is nothing, perhaps, that could prevent his being aston- 
ished at the spirit and haste with which the Russian bands, 
which in the trenches played accompaniments to their rifle 
attacks, regaled the army in its new position. 

The Russians here, as in general, assumed that the Japan- 
ese had a superiority in numbers. But it was curious that 
in their complaints of overwhelming numbers, they ignored 
the counterbalancing advantage which they always had in 
their fortifications. When defeated in their positions they 
complained of superior forces, precisely as when defeated in 
their attacks upon the enemy's positions. 

At Shi-ho-yen the ill-starred Tenth Corps, by falling into 
a trap, began a long career of misfortune such as was only 
surpassed throughout the whole war by the adventures of 

I5i 



The Tragedy of Russia 



those earlier units, the Eastern Detachment and the First 
Siberian Corps. 

Keller was still holding his position at Yang-tzu-ling, but 
the success of Kuroki brought Kouropatkin hurrying from 
Ta-shih-ch'iao to the scene on the An-p'ing road. 

On the twenty-fifth General Kouropatkin, who had visited 
the Shi River position, forded the Lang here and crossed 
the stony bed of the river on his return to Ta-shih-ch'iao. 
He was accompanied by nearly two hundred people, includ- 
ing his Cossack guard, correspondents, various government 
attaches, and foreign military agents. His cavalcade could 
not have been more showy had it belonged to the Sultan of 
Turkey. Having inspected the position he was now hurrying 
back, for he had no sooner arrived at the Shi River than he 
was again called south. 

Since the battle of Wa-fang-tien the operations on the 
south had taken a secondary position of importance. The 
commander-in-chief had desired to fall back uniformly on 
all sides toward Liao-yang, but Kuroki was interfering with 
this, and Kouropatkin seemed to apprehend a disaster on 
the east before he could accomplish it. In the south the 
fortress artillery had been withdrawn from the mouth of 
the Liao River, and the First Siberian Corps was in the 
main defense works, built at Ta-shih-ch'iao. At this point 
the railway traversed the east edge of the plain that extends 
one hundred miles to the west. The hills were very close 
to it on the east, and on the west of the railway was a 
detached kopje, giving the position something of the appear- 
ance of the natural defenses of An-shan-chan. 

The Japanese advanced on Saturday, the 23d, and began 
their artillery fire. In the night the Russians fell back from 
their outlying positions to the main line of defenses, embrac- 
ing the detached kopje on the west of the railway. The 
Russian artillery was engaged throughout the entire line. 

152 



Repulse of the Eastern Detachment 



It was strictly an artillery engagement — the most formidable 
that had yet taken place — and it was evident to the Japanese 
that the Russians were learning to use their artillery in the 
fields instead of perching it on the hilltops. 

Both sides had greatly re-enforced their artillery since the 
battle of Wa-fang-tien. As prearranged, General Zaru- 
baieff, who had succeeded General Stackelberg in command, 
remained wholly on the defense, using his artillery to embar- 
rass the Japanese advance. At nightfall he retreated en 
masse, after having successfully held the whole Russian posi- 
tion. The Japanese took the first line of Russian works on 
the east in the night and at dawn found the Russians retreat- 
ing. The retreat to Hai-ch'eng over muddy roads and in 
the hot sun, was the greatest distress so far, of the campaign, 
to these troops, and they suffered much from sickness and 
sunstroke during the day. There were few casualties, and 
as Ta-shih-ch'iao was the key to Niu-ch'uang, the retreat 
was severely criticised in the army. General Zarubaieff 
thought it necessary to make a defense of his action and 
stated that General Kouropatkin's last instructions to him 
upon leaving for Ku-chia-tzu were to make sure his retreat. 
He had, he said, achieved a partial victory, which he would 
have endangered had he attempted to advance. If he had 
succeeded in advancing he would have separated more widely 
the two wings of the army, which was the opposite of what 
was desired. By retreating he saved his " partial victory " 
and got away without disaster. 

It was disclosed afterward that the Japanese were about 
to, but had not reached the point of flanking him. A 
Russian Red Cross physician, who was captured by the 
Japanese during the progress of the battle, reported that 
General Oku asked him why the Russians had retreated 
from Ta-shih-ch'iao. It was evident that the Japanese were 
considerably surprised, as they had not assaulted the position 

153 



The Tragedy of Russia 



and were evidently only pressing gently with their infantry 
for the purpose of holding the Russians. The Russian civil 
population, as well as the few military at Niu-ch'uang, were 
no less astonished. Throughout Sunday they could hear 
the continuous roar and see the smoke of battle eight miles 
to the east, while the detonations shook their windows. On 
Monday they were surprised by the arrival of Japanese 
scouts and the Russian civil administrator fled across the river 
to Chinese territory. General Kouropatkin had himself 
superintended much of the work of the defenses and had 
spent much time at Ta-shih-ch'iao, making journeys into the 
interior at frequent intervals. After these defenses were made 
the effect of Kuroki's advance tended to weaken their value, 
and it was apparent that the various positions north of Ta- 
shih-ch'iao would be consecutively given up until the army was 
concentrated in the outlying positions of Liao-yang. General 
Zarubaieff, who conducted the battle of Ta-shih-ch'iao in 
Kouropatkin's absence, conducted the rear-guard defensive in 
all the great retreats throughout the war. 



154 



CHAPTER XVII 

SURRENDER OF THE EASTERN BARRIER 

A N-P'ING, twenty miles east of Liao-yang, by Mon- 
/-\ day, the twenty-fifth of July, when Kouropatkin 
-*■ ■*■ passed en route to Ta-shih-ch'iao, was an important 
base of supplies, and beyond it hospitals lined the road to 
Ku-chia-tzu. Here in a recess, sheltered from the view of 
the enemy, the road for a mile was lined with artillery parks 
and bivouacs. In the plain where these forces were gathered, 
which was fully a mile and a half in diameter, were numbers 
of bivouacs of infantry reserves. The soup wagons from 
which the soldiers fed were steaming in the sunlight. The 
camp had the appearance of preparing for a great battle. 
There was great activity all about the headquarters, which 
was located in a little hamlet on the east side of the camp 
under the hill. This hill ended abruptly on the bank of the 
Lang River, where was a ford leading to the advance 
position. 

It was now about noon. I forded the Lang, passed 
through the Village of Ku-chia-tzu immediately on the right 
bank and continued on east a few miles over the little pass 
Yu-shu-ling to Kuan-chia-p'u, where was an etaph. General 
Kouropatkin had spent the night here, although the outposts 
were but a mile ahead. From his bivouac to the Japanese 
pickets could not have been more than a mile and three- 
quarters. It was easily within deadly rifle range of a post 
of at least eight Japanese pickets, and the fact that the 
ex-minister of war and commander-in-chief of the Man- 
churian army had slept there, virtually with the out- 
posts, while General Zarubaieff in the south was evacuating 

155 



The Tragedy of Russia 



Ta-shih-ch'iao, seemed incredible until I had proved the 
proximity of the Japanese outposts by a personal adventure, 
when I was even more astonished than before. 

The etaph was located in a wide recess between two moun- 
tain ridges, and the road intersecting it in the middle had the 
general appearance of the whole line of communication back 
to An-p'ing and Liao-yang, except that it was a little more 
quiet. 

I crossed this little plain and passed over the ridge beyond, 
where was a well-used military road, and entered the old bed 
of the River Shi, leaving the river proper to my left. Half 
a mile ahead was a Chinese house, and back of it appeared 
to be men bathing in the river. There was a Chinese in the 
roadway in front of the house, but otherwise no further signs 
of man. This fact alone was not strange, but a little further 
on I passed an abandoned Red Cross cart, which partly 
aroused my suspicions. I called the Chinese from out his 
house — for he had disappeared upon my approach — and 
asked him where the last battle had been fought. He said 
it was several li farther on. I asked him where the Rus- 
sian position was, and he said at the ridge from which I 
had just come ! I asked him where the Japanese were, and 
he said they were in the valley opposite us on the south as 
well as on the hill just behind his house ! 

I was riding a white Chinese pony and I realized that 
I was at the moment the cynosure of the eyes of several 
hundred Japanese and Russian pickets and scouts in the 
fields and on the mountain-tops around, and that the Japan- 
ese, whose lines I had entered, were only waiting an indica- 
tion on my part of an attempt to return before they opened 
fire. But as there was no alternative I put spurs to my 
horse and wheeled around as quickly as possible. There 
was the immediate cracking of several rifles, and judging 
by the sound they could not have been further distant than 

i 5 6 



Surrender of the Eastern Barrier 



the river bank behind the house. The adventure scared 
the pony, who threw me out of the saddle and galloped on 
alone. When I fell on the ground the firing ceased, for I 
was out of view. I crept into the tall kao-liang, a kind of 
millet, exactly resembling sorghum, and took out my binocles. 
But as I could see nothing I returned to the edge of the kao- 
liang and dashed out across the bare river-bed into the open, 
with the object of regaining the ridge. As I did so the 
Japanese pickets immediately began firing again. I could 
not hear the bullets, but they kept pricking up the dust and 
gravel in my pathway. There were several men firing, and 
I was astonished at their inaccuracy, because their rifles 
sounded as loud as a six-shooter at fifty paces, and they must 
have been very near. An eighth of a mile beyond I gained 
the bank of the river bed, where there was a field of tall 
kao-liang and the firing ceased. I could see from this point 
that my pony had returned by the military road to the posi- 
tion, where I recovered him from the pickets who told me 
that they had signaled, warning me of the position of their 
outposts. I was convinced that General Kouropatkin had 
spent the night with the outposts merely for effect, and later 
observation showed that he made a practice of this. 

Inside of the ridge was a Cossack post with some artillery 
a little farther back. I was surprised at the apparent friend- 
liness of the two armies — there was no guard between the 
etaph and the enemy and I was surprised that hostile men 
and firearms could have such consideration for one another. 
I soon had an opportunity to confirm in an extensive way at 
this same spot these same conclusions. 

The middle of the afternoon I returned to Ku-chia-tzu. 
I stopped at a native inn, which was at the same time the 
yamen, or office of the local official. He had been reduced 
to a degree of wretchedness quite below his normal state; 
even a foreign observer could see that. His secretary enter- 

157 



The Tragedy of Russia 



tained me and told me that five Chinese had been ruthlessly 
killed in the vicinity by the Russian soldiers. He said that 
the Cossacks especially were bad, but that on the whole, 
considering the existence of a state of war, there was excellent 
order. The Chinese in general, it may be said here, were 
greatly impressed by the foreign art of war, which com- 
pared with Chinese standards is humane. The magistrate, 
whose name was Chou, was an old man and he had little 
left now but the dusty and rickety old building which had 
been the inn and into which he had been crowded by the 
encroachments of the army. His secretary, Mr. Wu, spoke 
a few words of English, much to my surprise, and I learned 
that he had at one time studied in the foreign mission at 
Liao-yang. I began with him a negotiation for eggs, and 
to give an idea of the degree to which the region was foraged 
by the soldiers it is only necessary to state that with his 
official forces, and thoroughly acquainted with the region 
and its resources, the magistrate was able to accommodate 
me with only two eggs after the exertions of twenty-four 
hours. 

Adjoining the inn was installed a branch of the Evangelical 
Hospital, in charge of Dr. Lange, who shortly was the hero 
of the battle of Ku-chia-tzu. In the evening of the 25th, 
about one-third of the Thirty-third Regiment was moved up 
to the position beyond the etaph at Kuan-chia-p'u, and the 
line strengthened all the way to the Eastern Detachment. 
These troops of the Ninth Division had only lately arrived 
from the Eastern Detachment. On Tuesday, the 26th, the 
Thirty-sixth Regiment, with a sotnia of Cossacks and several 
troops of mounted infantry, with a mountain battery and a 
Red Cross contingent, moved up a little affluent of the Lang 
to Pien-ling, the first pass to the right, before which the 
Japanese had arrived and were fortifying. I continued under 
a hot sun — after watching this force occupy its position — 

158 



Surrender of the Eastern Barrier 



up the Lang River and arrived at Chiu-tsai-yu shortly after 
noon. Lieutenant Chininimuriat, who entertained me here, 
had returned from the position at Si-pien-ling ill. He had 
received a bullet through his cap and had had a personal 
encounter with a Japanese officer, from whom he had received 
a belt and drinking cup as trophies. Though suffering 
severely from dysentery he had refused to leave his post, 
for he was proud of having fought with the Eastern Detach- 
ment at Ch'iu-lien-ch'eng, where he had had a brother killed, 
and along the Feng-huang-ch'eng road. 

From this outpost of the Eastern Detachment I returned 
in the evening to the right flank of the Tenth Corps at Pien- 
ling, where I arrived at about four o'clock. From the top of 
the pass here the Japanese could be plainly seen with field- 
glasses along the works something over a mile below. An 
officer was seen to stand and look at us and then quietly walk 
along his trenches, which, without the glasses, could be seen 
defined along the ridges. Our officers said that the Japanese 
mountain artillery was posted opposite us on the right. 

Our column was in command of a general, who, with his 
staff, rode out into the opening at the top of the pass. 
Infantry were brought up and deployed on both sides, and 
after we had freely shown ourselves, and it had been con- 
sidered that adequate demonstration had been made, the 
column marched back to the foot of the valley, where it 
would be in convenient touch with the Kuan-chia-p'u position 
and bivouac. 

As I returned to Ku-chia-tzu a military balloon was sent 
up back of the pass Yu-shu-ling, where, from the Japanese 
camp, it was in startling relief against a blazing sunset. 
The blaze of orange light in the western sky at evening was 
succeeded by an afterglow of summer moonlight, in which 
our camp fires blazed up like conflagrations of faggots in 
autumn fields. I thought of what revelations the military 

159 



The Tragedy of Russia 



balloon might be the author in a situation such as this, for 
the Japanese bivouacs must in the night have been as clearly 
revealed to the spectators in the carriage of our military 
balloon as was our own. The Tenth Corps had a long 
experience with this balloon, but I believe it was the testimony 
of the military that the appearance of the earth from above 
had such an unusual look and distances were so deceptive 
that the information obtained by its use was of little or no 
practical value and was even confusing and dangerous. 

These activities were the harbinger of an early battle. On 
Thursday morning at ten o'clock I stood on the picket posi- 
tion beyond Kuan-chia-p'u looking down upon the valley 
where I had been fired on three days before. Twenty-five 
Cossacks rode out in the direction of the farmhouse, but 
were fired upon before they reached it and fled in open order. 
From the top of the ridge the Japanese could be seen on the 
mountain-tops in the distance. A staff officer came up and 
questioned the Russian picket, and later a division general 
arrived with his staff and sat down on the slope facing the 
enemy. To our left, not much more than one thousand yards 
away, could be seen the heads and shoulders of four Japanese 
pickets, who contented themselves with quietly watching us, 
for it was evident that they were under orders not to fire un- 
less Russian scouts entered their lines. It was surprising that 
a dozen Russian officers would, in a perfectly casual manner, 
make themselves the easy target of the enemy, for we were 
for a period of twenty minutes within deadly range of any 
Japanese rifleman possessing a degree of markmanship that 
might entitle him to be called a sharpshooter. At last an 
officer discovered the Japanese, who were still calmly lying 
on the top of the hill inspecting us, but instead of warning 
his colleagues to retire out of danger, he ordered the picket 
to begin firing. Much to my surprise the Japanese pickets 
not only disappeared from view, but refused to return our 

1 60 



Surrender of the Eastern Barrier 



fire. If they had done this, they might have killed and 
disabled half a dozen officers. 

Our front presented a perpendicular wall to the enemy 
a hundred feet high. Leading to the right the ground 
ascended to a height of three hundred or four hundred feet, 
and on the east was a sheer descent. Behind was a steep 
slope up which a company of infantry labored to make their 
way. About the middle of the afternoon a battery took up a 
position on our left on the bench of the ridge just out of 
view of the Japanese pickets. 

Later in the day several of our infantry scouts made a 
detour from Pien-ling on the south into the edge of the Shi 
River valley, entering the Japanese line and escaping into 
our position. One man in particular could be seen coming 
down a little water course, where he drew the fire of the 
Japanese pickets, and continuing into the valley, passed 
through a village in which Japanese were concealed and then 
turned into a roadway leading in our direction. He waved 
his hand to the enemy as they continued to fire upon him, 
and at one place he sat down at the side of the road, where 
he rested for a couple of minutes, when he got up and con- 
tinued his stroll until he disappeared in the kao-liang leading 
to our position, when the firing ceased. His exploit is a fair 
example of Russian bravery, which often reaches the stage 
of a magnificent contempt for and indifference to danger, to 
the extent sometimes of indiscretion and foolhardiness. 

The military balloon was brought up to Yu-shu-ling, where 
its use must have excited the speculation and suspicion of the 
Japanese. The spectacle of the military bantering the Japan- 
ese sharpshooters on the 28th on the outposts and the music 
and singing in the bivouacs was in telling contrast to the 
spectacle presented at Ku-chia-tzu on the evening of the 31st. 

Then instead of an army in relaxation along the position 
and around its camp fires, was a defeated army that had 

161 



The Tragedy of Russia 



already taken up where it had left off the long retreat 
from the Yalu. Instead of singing — silence and soberness. 
The bands, even, were not playing, and the troops were grave 
and morose. 

As had so many times been the case in the operations on 
the east, the Russian forces had allowed the Japanese to 
move up close to them and fortify. They had then, as usual, 
reached a state of anxiety regarding the Japanese strength 
and demonstration, and had undertaken to turn them out. 
On the night of the 29th they had driven away the Japanese 
outposts on the hill opposite the ridge where their main 
position was. There was a rifle engagement during the day 
and on the night of the 30th the Tamboff Regiment was 
advanced across the Shi River in front of the main position. 
This movement was apprehended by the Japanese, who had 
fallen back before it, and they promptly attacked on their 
right, taking the pickets guarding the Russian left and reach- 
ing the coping of the hill overlooking the bivouac of the 
Tamboff Regiment. At dawn, when the Japanese infantry 
had reached this position, they were ready to pour an accurate 
fire into the Tamboff Regiment at close range. Officers of 
the regiment were warned at dawn that they were within 
range of the Japanese artillery, but instead of moving away, 
they ordered morning tea ! When the Japanese infantry 
opened fire on the morning of the 31st, they were able to 
select their targets from the officers who were engaged in 
the performance of various details of their morning toilet. 
Officers were still combing their hair and drinking their tea 
when the Japanese artillery opened upon them and shrapnel 
was discharged into their tents. Nineteen of these officers were 
killed! 

It was this regiment which, with the Penza Regiment at 
Gorny Bougarovo in December, 1877, according to General 
Gourko, gave the Turks several well-directed volleys, leapt 

162 




Wounded Russian soldiers telling the story of the "terrible enemy" to comrades 



r 



Surrender of the Eastern Barrier 



from their works and threw themselves with the bayonet 
upon the enemy, who were seized with a panic in the presence 
of the enormous number of killed and wounded which they 
had lost in a few seconds. The regiment did not do so much 
in the advance above Ku-chia-tzu on the thirty-first of July. 
History deteriorated. The men of the twentieth century 
were fighting on a lower plane of tactics than those in the 
nineteenth. 

This regiment was hid from the main Japanese force, 
which had entrenched itself in the valley on the opposite 
side of the hill. A counter attack was made on the Japanese 
right, but they had made good their position commanding 
the Russian camp. The battle degenerated, as had all the 
battles of this army, into defense and then into an effort 
of the force to extricate itself, which it did by the close of 
day, and in the night of the 31st an attempt was made to 
retire behind the pass Yu-shu-ling. 

At dawn of August 1st the Russian artillery was hidden in 
the kao-liang on the east bank of the Lang, and from their 
position north of the Ku-chia-tzu road, were directed against 
the pass Pien-ling, where the Japanese had turned the Rus- 
sian right flank and crushed nearly a brigade. Here a road 
led for perhaps a couple of miles between high hills in a 
very narrow valley, for the most part in a stony bed of a 
little water course, and was walled in by stone barriers built 
to retain the soil of the little fields and terraces on each side. 
In no place was^ it wider than was necessary for two Chinese 
carts to pass, and the troops that had advanced by it to Pien- 
ling had wended their way along two and three abreast and 
in some places in single file. The infantry trenches at Pien- 
ling were so shallow that the infantrymen could not escape 
from them without being seen from the Japanese trenches 
a mile away. When they were turned out of this trench on 
the morning of the 31st they poured back into the little 

163 



The Tragedy of Russia 



roadway, stampeding re-enforcements which they met. They 
were attacked in the beginning of their flight, leaving nearly 
half a company on the field, and farther down in the most 
treacherous part of the line of retreat were surprised by 
another large Japanese force posted on the steep mountain 
on the south. The stone walls at the roadside were one to 
three feet in height, affording no shelter to the escaping 
soldiers caught in a deadly fire at point-blank range of, in 
some places, only three or four hundred yards. Nearly a 
battalion was left dead or wounded on the field in the road- 
way. So complete was the slaughter that General Hershel- 
man asked a truce, which was granted by the Japanese, in 
order to bring off his wounded. It was these unfortunates 
that had been met with in the An-p'ing road in the middle 
of the afternoon. At 8:15 in the morning of the first I left 
Ku-chia-tzu and passed up the road to the east, but seeing 
a battery concealed in the grain there I made a little detour 
to the left and watched the opening of the artillery battle. 
The mountain artillery could be heard at Li-p'i-yu, about 
three miles up the Lang to the south, holding back the 
Japanese troops that had destroyed our troops from Pien- 
ling and desultory rifle fire had been heard all morning. At 
8 : 45 two or three Japanese shrapnel burst immediately over 
the battery I have just mentioned, and within twenty minutes 
it had shifted its position to the west bank of the Lang, a 
mile and a half away, and began firing into Pien-ling and into 
the valley beyond Yu-shu-ling. The Japanese artillery was 
at the same time shelling with shrapnel the pass Yu-shu-ling, 
which was now the main Russian left position. The Village 
of Ku-chia-tzu, now just behind the center of our position, 
had been turned from a line north and south to a line north- 
east-southwest. The right was broken and the left flank 
was drawn in to support the center. 

In the Chinese inn here Dr. Lange had stored a part of 

164 



Surrender of the Eastern Barrier 



his hospital supplies, from which he hastily took a quantity 
of emergency appurtenances, and started for the etaph at 
Kuan-chia-p'u, which was under rifle fire. Up to this time 
there had been more than one thousand casualties imme- 
diately in front of his field station. He invited officers to 
take whatever stores they might, " because," said he, " they 
must be abandoned. I have not yet been able to move my 
wounded and we shall doubtless be taken by the Japanese." 
He moved up the road, passed through the Japanese shrapnel 
at the Yu-shu-ling and was able before noon to remove his 
wounded to the rear. 

But the Russian line was rapidly falling back. From the 
rocky spur of the ridge that ended abruptly just behind 
Ku-chia-tzu on the opposite side of the Lang could be seen 
the two lines of infantry, Russian and Japanese, in contact 
down the Lang valley from Li-p'i-yu on the south, to the 
Yu-shu-ling. The Japanese infantry were coming down the 
ravines from the high mountains around Pien-ling, and their 
bullets were pricking up the dust along the Russian trenches 
at the edge of the village. The Russian infantry was sys- 
tematically falling back. The infantry just in front and not 
more than five hundred yards distant, arose slowly and with- 
out any apparent attempt to take shelter from the Japanese 
fire, retired in a dogged, preoccupied fashion and rendez- 
voused just behind the ridge upon which I stood. At the 
foot of the ridge passed a young Caucasian Cossack, who was 
carrying an armful of those ornate Caucasian sabers, which 
both the civilians and the military of that nation wear. A 
little later I saw two or three of the same sotnia, each lead- 
ing two to four riderless horses, and four others being 
carried off the field in ambulances. This was the relic of a 
Caucasian sotnia. 

At nine o'clock the Russian artillery was on the west bank 
of the Lang, five minutes later the Russian infantry had 

165 



The Tragedy of Russia 



followed it. At 10 a.m. the Japanese were breaking shrapnel 
over the Yu-shu-ling which they at once occupied, and at 
10:30 it was entirely quiet, and not even rifle firing could 
be heard. At 11:15 one of the Russian batteries back of 
Ku-chia-tzu began to shell Yu-shu-ling to embarrass the Japan- 
ese occupation there. At 11:55 a Japanese brisant struck 
in the An-p'ing road half a mile west of Ku-chia-tzu, and at 
three o'clock in the afternoon General Hershelman, with the 
headquarters of the Tenth Corps, moved back toward An- 
p'ing. The main position of the Tenth Corps was now on 
the west bank of the Lang. 

When night was falling on the 31st the line of wounded in 
litters and wagons and in carts that filed through Ku-chia-tzu 
reached almost to An-p'ing. There had been " more than a 
thousand " casualties during the day. When it grew quite 
dark the drivers were unable to keep the road, which was 
rough and at the sides strewn with bowlders. As the wheels 
fell over these obstacles the discomfited soldiers groaned and 
spectators crept about among the wheels and between the 
legs of the horses to roll the stones away. The Chinese 
discreetly closed their shops and barricaded their houses 
when the battle came. 

But the battle of Ku-chia-tzu was not Kuroki's main action 
on these dates. It was a simultaneous attack w r ith Kuroki's 
attack on Keller at Yang-tzu-ling. 

Kuroki's force, since it had reached the approaches of 
the Feng-shui range of mountains, had been divided into two 
columns, and its advance by the An-p'ing and by the Feng- 
huang-ch'eng roads had been uniform. When the Russians 
displaced the Japanese picket in front of their main position 
on the Shi on the 29th, Kuroki moved against the Eastern 
Detachment at Yang-tzu-ling and the Eastern Detachment 
sustained there the most severe attack delivered by Kuroki 
against it since it came under Keller's command. 

166 



Surrender of the Eastern Barrier 



The failure of all attempts to interfere with Kuroki's 
advance and the success of his forward movements against 
the Tenth Corps on the An-p'ing road, and against the 
Eastern Detachment on the Mo-t'ien-ling road, had made 
the east the most important part of the theater of war. 
Kuroki, on the morning of July 31st, simultaneous with the 
attack of his forces upon the Tenth Corps, deployed a great 
artillery fire along the Yang-tzu-ling position, which lasted 
throughout the day. The front was greatly extended since 
the battle of Mo-t'ien-ling, so that the battle line on that day, 
including the position on the An-p'ing road, extended for 
fully twenty miles. 

Keller resisted Kuroki's attempt to turn his right flank, 
where his position was very strong, and might have held his 
front at the To-wan Pagoda, but by two o'clock in the after- 
noon he was dead, from almost the whole contents of a shrap- 
nel shell discharged into his body. As at other battles since he 
had taken command, General Keller was present on the posi- 
tion. He was, like members of his staff, dressed in a white 
tunic. As the field tactics exposed the Russians to heavy 
losses among their infantry, so the military dress, especially 
among the Russian officers, made them a target for the 
Japanese artillery. By night the left flank was exposed by 
the loss of Pien-ling, a pass on the north, and of the position 
of the To-wan Pagoda, the detachment therefore having 
lost as many men as the Tenth Corps, as well as four guns, 
and its chief, General Keller, being dead, retreated in disorder, 
the main body retiring fifteen miles to the prepared position 
just inside Liang-chi-shan. 

The troops of the entire east front lost about two thou- 
sand one hundred (2,100) men. The Eastern Detachment 
was only morally beaten and the Japanese probably owe their 
victory at Yang-tzu-ling to the death of the brave General 
Keller. But as I have pointed out, criticism had long been 

167 



The Tragedy of Russia 



futile. The incredible had become so obvious and so aston- 
ishing that men only wondered. 

The Eastern Detachment became the Third Siberian 
Corps, under General Ivanoff, when it had fallen back to the 
prepared position at Liang-chi-shan on the south. 

The First, Second and Fourth Corps had assembled as if 
to defend Hai-ch'eng, and the action by which the position 
there was evacuated was simultaneous with the fighting at 
Yang-tzu-ling and Yu-shu-ling. 

Every part of the army had now been pretty badly 
" dusted/' except the Seventeenth Corps, which had only 
arrived. It was said that the Russians were getting the 
severe lesson in modern warfare that the American general, 
Slocum, once warned them of. The Fourth Corps, which 
was now under General Sassulitch, who had been given this 
command after the disciplinary disgrace put upon him after 
Ch'iu-lien-ch'eng, did a good deal of fighting as it fell back 
from Si-mu-ch'ang into Hai-ch'eng, losing five guns on the 
way. When Hai-ch'eng was abandoned a regiment was 
accused of having been stampeded in the night by four hilari- 
ous Japanese horsemen riding into it with a war-whoop. 
It was asserted that guns of a battery took a position on the 
side of a hill actually occupied by the Japanese and when 
they rushed back with the gun limbers to the rear, the Japan- 
ese solemnly walked over and took the guns!- 

The Japanese allowed the Russians to take all their stores 
and transport from Hai-ch'eng without molestation, and the 
Russian army of the south disappeared quietly into the posi- 
tion at An-shan-chan accompanied by a cloud of dust. In- 
cluding the battle of Ta-shih-ch'iao, the army of the south, 
which had been directly under Kouropatkin's supervision and 
numbered fully 80,000 men, had lost about five thousand 
men killed and wounded. 

The eastern mountain barrier protecting the army base 

168 



Surrender of the Eastern Barrier 



was now in the hands of the enemy, who occupied the western 
slopes leading to the coming battle-ground and to the plain, 
with no formidable obstacle to bar its advance except the 
redoubts before the city walls. This barrier had neither 
been economically defended nor dearly lost. On four battle- 
grounds, Shi-ho-yen, Yu-shu-ling or Kuan-chia-p'u, Pien-ling 
and T'a-k'ou-ling or Mo-t'ien-ling the Russian forces had 
been trapped and slaughtered and their adventures at the 
eastern barrier had only brought further discredit upon the 
" plan of war," which was now ridiculed in every capital 
in the world. 



isseoi AisAi ranrPAinu 

Ero HMnepaxopcKaro BejranecTBa Tocy^apH Siame- 

paTopa 

KoMandywutjeMy MamnwypcKOii Apmien renepaM-AdzwrnaH- 
my Kyponamnuuy omz SI mojin: 



«rocno#b flapoBajn* En Bejimecmey h Mnn> Cuna 
AJIEKC'BSI. Cnlsiiiy cooShuitb BaMi> o6i> 9toh mhjiocth 
BosKieii Poccin h Hcimz, ^to6h pa3^jiHTi> paflocTB 
/i;o5jiecTHLixi> bohck^ AtMcTByion^eii ApMin. Ha3Ha^aio 
HoBopo^eHiiaro HacjmduiiKa Ifycapeeima IEejfiom* 
1^-ro BocTo^Ho-CnonpcKaro CTpfcjiKOBaro no.iKa>*, 

HnKOJiafi. 

The Emperor's telegram to the Grand Army announcing the birth of his 
son Alexia, and the appointment of the infant to be Colonel-in-Chief of the 
Twelfth East Siberian Regiment (see page 180). 



169 



CHAPTER XVIII 

LIAO-YANG, THE RELIANCE OF THE EASTERN EMPIRE 

THE month of August found the Grand Army in the 
outlying positions of the great stronghold and mili- 
tary base of Liao-yang, and ushered in those great 
events which are more important, doubtless, than any events 
that have ever affected this ancient city. The armies had 
not yet wholly concentrated, particularly on the south. But 
the country was a network of communications, and especially 
in the immediate vicinity of Liao-yang the relatively trackless 
millet fields were furrowed wide and far with military roads 
now choking with dust. 

Eastward from the T'ai-tzu railway bridge and crossing 
under the northeast corner of the city wall, a railway embank- 
ment and levee had been built extending to the eastern hills. 
It was intended to protect the defenses in front of the city on 
the south from inundation by the T'ai-tzu River and to 
support a railway to the left flank by way of An-p'ing. The 
tall millet had begun to be broken down to make firing zones 
in front of the trenches, and this extended for four miles 
from the city walls and was continuous, except in such places 
as it was desired to have cover to screen the artillery and 
troops. 

The An-p'ing and the Feng-huang-ch'eng roads, which 
followed the same course for several miles east of Liao-yang, 
changed their aspect from day to day by the miscellaneous 
traffic and no traffic, like chameleons. August was the month 
of calms in so far as nature was concerned, and man and 
beast sweltered in the kao-liang where it seemed there was 

170 



Liao-Tang 9 the Reliance of the Eastern Empire 

not a breath of air for days at a time. In consequence, move- 
ments of men were to an extent carried on in the night, 
although the antiquated tactics of the army did not encourage 
them to sacrifice sleep and rest for the benefits which night 
marches would give in the preparation and carrying out of 
battles. 

On account of the great heat and dust I undertook to 
reach An-p'ing by night, with a solitary companion. I was 
not provided with an escort, but relied upon taking a bridle- 
path just outside of the east suburbs of the city to keep 
clear of any troops that might be bivouacking on the main 
road. It was after eight o'clock and quite dark when we 
encountered the sentries of a baggage contingent that had 
moved in since I had passed that way. They arrested us and 
led us to the midst of the camp, where we were surrounded 
by what in the night looked to be an awe-struck herd of wild 
animals, a figure which may serve well to describe what were 
in fact astonished Siberian rustics. Among these peasants, 
whom it would have been thought would have been obedient 
to the discipline of the quiet camp, there were generally 
some ready to plunder and rob. While we were in charge 
of the officers some soldiers succeeded in looting the saddle- 
bags on one of the horses and a lieutenant proudly relieved 
my companion of his revolver. A little later he politely 
returned the weapon with a profound bow, but the articles 
stolen from the saddle-bags were not recovered. It took a 
quarter of an hour to complete our identification, and at the 
end of that time we were released and a guide given us to 
point out the Liao-yang road. No attempt was made to 
recover the stolen articles. We continued our course by the 
main road until nine o'clock, when we stopped in a hamlet 
to rest for the night. 

We hammered for some time at the doors of an inn in a 
quiet hamlet away from the road and were at last admitted 

171 



The Tragedy of Russia 



to the solitary enclosure. It was a brilliant moonlight night, 
and the dogs that had been baying at the moon now turned 
upon us, although they must long ago have been accustomed 
to strange visitors, for, in fact, the place showed the effects 
of many visitations of the soldiers. But there was yet straw 
for the horses, and in the great kitchen, which in such places 
occupies a whole building on one side of the compound, there 
was plenty of fresh water with which to bathe, and in a 
few minutes we had aroused the sleepy Chinese cook who 
made us some tea. We slept in the main building on beds 
of fragrant straw exposed to the moonlight and the zephyrs 
of the summer night, for the window lattices were gone and 
the building was almost completely dismantled by the soldiers. 
What depredations were beneath their ingenuity, the tenants 
had themselves executed, such as removing all the loose 
wood and taking the iron of the oven and hiding it. At a 
little later period in the war the depredations of the soldiers 
left nothing possible even to the lowest order of predatory 
Chinese. They not only burned up all the wood in the 
buildings, but after they had done so they carried off the 
kettles in which they had cooked their food, and which con- 
stituted the whole cooking machinery of the Chinese family. 
At dawn we continued our journey, following up the 
course of the T'ang River. Preparations were being made 
to extend a pontoon bridge over this stream at the point 
where it meets the T'ai-tzii, although this was done merely 
as an emergency because that stream is fordable at all times, 
except in great floods. The An-p'ing road was not only a 
line of communication for the Tenth Corps resting at Ku-chia- 
tzu, but a good deal of traffic of the Eastern Detachment 
(now the Third Siberian Corps, under General Ivanoff), 
now that the dry season had come on, took this route to 
avoid the Wang-pao-t'ai pass on the main Liao-yang-Feng- 
huang-ch'eng road. An-p'ing was turned into an army base, 

172 



Liao-Yang, the Reliance of the Eastern Empire 

and large quantities of stores, principally grain, were being 
piled up at the entrance to the town. A long line of Chinese 
carts bearing these stores reached for miles along the road- 
way, and after we had crossed the T'ang I noticed the nearly 
endless line of carts in charge of two or three mounted 
soldiers come to a halt and the Chinese carters, who were 
themselves a small army, began to gather the growing grain 
adjoining the roadway, with which they fed their animals. 
In some places the crops that were yet only half ripe had 
been cut off for several hundred yards from the roadway, and 
the farmers said that they had often made claims for damages 
which were never received from the military. In general 
the testimony of the natives coincided with this, although 
immediately around the City of Liao-yang a certain fixed 
rate was paid to the farmers to compensate them for the 
wholesale destruction of crops that was necessary to the 
scheme of fortification. 

At An-p'ing there was an interesting community of sutlers 
representing all the petty nationalities of Southern Europe 
and Western Asia. They were a decided feature of the 
Grand Army. They contributed to the important army bases, 
such as Mukden and Liao-yang, an element that gave those 
places the business and bustle of a great fair. At An-p'ing 
they displayed preserves, tobacco, wines and liquors. Among 
the latter was nearly every known label, though as they 
were generally known to come from the China coast by way 
of Niu-ch'uang or Hsin-min-t'un, they were justly under deep 
suspicion. There were restaurants as well, under canopies 
of Chinese rush mats, which conveniences were to be had in 
great quantity in Manchuria and were one of the chief bless- 
ings of the campaigner. 

An-p'ing proper did not contain over one hundred and 
fifty native families, but it had two or three substantial com- 
pounds with good buildings, and these were occupied by the 

173 



The Tragedy of Russia 



military and Red Cross. The military life of the highway 
was so strenuous and contentious, now that it was at all times 
crowded with troops and transports, that there were prac- 
tically no accommodations. The house-fly has never been 
found in any place in the world, I believe, to be a greater 
pest that in Manchuria, and owing to the filth immediately 
surrounding the living places of the Chinese, the houses were 
largely abandoned and became the depositories of the filth 
of the camps. Officers and men drank freely from the native 
wells, which were seldom pure, and slept for the most part 
in the open. At this season this style of life was for the 
most part ideal, but it was with difficulty that one could find 
shelter from the burning sun by day and there was no time, 
even at night, when one could escape the flies. 

At noon we ascended the hillside just beyond An-p'ing 
and rested during the heat of the day under the scrub oaks 
and chestnuts and proceeded later in the afternoon to the 
Tenth Corps on the Lang. The little native hamlets, since 
the battle of Yu-shu-ling, were nearly completely dismantled 
and appropriated to the uses of the military and the con- 
veniences of the common soldier. The natives were subsist- 
ing upon the relics of their crops and in some cases it is 
good to state, upon the generosity of the troops, who were, 
at any rate, at intervals visited by plenty. The line to Ku- 
chia-tzu furnished a fair illustration of a half dozen lines 
of communication and supply radiating from Liao-yang, 
representing an aspect of the struggles of the Eastern 
Empire and of the travail of two great races in their progress. 
The Chinese were receiving such an object lesson of the 
things that exist in the world as seemed sufficient to make 
them wish to abandon any further struggle with the condi- 
tions which they found about them. But in this extremity 
they seemed to prove throughout the war their complete 
ability to weld their lives to the life of the army and even 

174 



Liao-Yang y the Reliance of the Eastern Empire 

in the rigors of the battlefield, to improve their existence. 
On the actual line of communications the natives usually sent 
their families away, often a hundred miles to the interior, 
but for the most part they remained to endure the com- 
pletest depredations by the soldiers. The lines of communi- 
cation were natural highways and intersected the principal 
towns and traversed the richest farmsteads. It may be seen, 
therefore, that the operations ending in the battle of Liao- 
yang laid waste a considerable part of the agricultural region. 
At this time the crops were still growing rankly, but the 
valleys were fairly drubbed by the marching troops and the 
fine grain beaten into the earth. 

Returning from Ku-chia-tzu we rode late into the evening, 
repassed An-p'ing at dusk and proceeded to a village con- 
siderably to the right of the road and in touch with the 
rough country leading off toward Pen-shi-hu. The moon had 
not come up and we had to make our way through the 
darkness across a very wide and rocky river bed and to 
ford the river. When we reached the village the inhabitants 
were asleep and the gates were barred, and it was on a high 
bank up which we had to spur our horses. It was one of 
those villages which was so far from the main highway that 
it was virtually unmolested, and for this reason it seemed 
well to go there, as it gave the best promises for rest and 
food. The night-watch, after due parley, unbarred the great 
wooden gates with which the village had been newly fitted 
with the hope of excluding the soldiers, and we were admitted 
into the village and into the compound of a merchant. We 
passed here a comfortable night in a building that had been 
used as a granary. Just before lying down for the night, and 
while we were eating " chou " — a thick gruel of millet and 
rice brought us by the Chinese — our host explained that 
hostile " hung-hu-tziis " had come down to a point but a little 
way in the hills. His information, derived through native 

175 



The Tragedy of Kits si a 



sources, which were a part of the system of communications 
that is always a subject of wonder to foreigners in Man- 
churia and which often baffled the Russian military, suggested 
that the Japanese, through their Chinese recruits, had 
already, more than three weeks before the battle of Liao- 
yang proper began, scouted the whole region between the 
An-p'ing road and the T'ai-tzu River, which was the place 
where Kuroki was to make his dash for the Russian rear. 
I remembered this incident at the Chinese village on the 
bank of the T'ang, afterward, and decided that such was the 
case. 

The Feng-huang-ch'eng road, the next great line of com- 
munication on the south, was an even busier scene by reason 
of the works carried on by the engineers to improve the road. 
At the entrance to the hills about seven miles from Liao- 
yang was the Village of Kao-li-ch'un; three miles farther on 
Wang-pao-t'ai, where was the quarter-etaph. Leaving this 
place the road led over the two passes which took the name 
of the Village of Wang-pao-t'ai. At the highest of these 
passes the native road was discarded as impossible and aban- 
doned to foot soldiers. An expensive roadway had been cut 
from the rock along which, with only the greatest difficulty, 
could artillery be hauled. With eight horses to a field gun 
it was still necessary, with long ropes, to hitch at least fifty 
men to a gun in order to get it up to the summit. Under the 
hot sun and shut in by the surrounding hills without a breath 
of air, I witnessed a whole brigade of artillery sweltering 
throughout an entire day in this difficult place. While but one 
gun could be brought up at a time, the road was so dangerous 
going down on the opposite side that it required even more 
time in the descent. A new road had to be blasted out of 
the rock so that wagon-trains might move in both directions 
at the same time. 

Owing to the rains of July the roads crossing the depres- 

176 



Liao-Tang, the Reliance of the Eastern Empire 

sions between and beyond these passes had to be battened for 
considerable distances with willow mattresses. The road was 
now heated and dusty, animated with traffic and stinking 
with dead animals lying in the sun, which no one had the 
time to bury. Where it entered the valley of the T'ang a 
picturesque rocky spur rose from the water's edge in front 
of the beholder, and here was an ideal place for a plunge, 
but so many soldiers were encamped along the opposite bank 
and for ten miles along the upper waters, that the water was 
already milky from the soap used in bathing. Strange 
enough it became more and more dirty as one ascended to 
Liang-chi-shan. 

When I had first visited this road, the troops were drenched 
with rain, shivering from cold one instant and convulsed 
with laughter the next. Men who ought to have been in 
the hospital twenty-four hours before were at that time strug- 
gling in the flooded river or laughing at the comical mishap 
of a comrade, or from the bank jeering some fellow-unfor- 
tunate whose baggage had disappeared in the current. But 
now those who were not cooling their naked bodies in the 
dirty tide were fanning themselves under their shelter tents 
or in the shade of the willows and aspens about the villages. 
The soldiers in reserve along these roads climbed to nearly 
any height on the surrounding hillsides to reach the shelter 
of a few saplings in whose little shadow they could recline 
and cook their pot of tea. Everywhere the houses were 
broken, the roads dirty, and the limpid streams and crystal 
fords of the Feng-huang-ch'eng road cloudy with camp 
sewage. There was no forage left at the positions, and 
it was impossible to feed a horse without a contribution of 
millet and bean cake from the military. There was scarcely 
more than a wisp of any green thing left in the vicinity of 
the position. Far up in a ravine I found a hamlet wherein 
to pass the night, but there was only one house in which 

177 



The Tragedy of Russia 



one could find shelter — although there was a transport 
contingent a few hundred yards away — and this was crowded 
with several decrepit members of a Chinese family. From 
the men of the transport I secured one feed of grain and 
bean cake for my horse. 

As I returned a part of the Third Corps was maneuvering 
on the main position just inside Liang-chi-shan. Artillery 
was to be seen high up on the mountain-side, and back of the 
position which was on hills that left only a narrow gap for the 
passage of the T'ang River, infantry were deployed in open 
order entirely across the valley. In the wide and rocky river 
bed I saw a maneuver quite unlike anything that I had yet 
seen. A thin extended line was rushing up the valley, sug- 
gesting that they anticipated the future necessity of capturing 
their main position from the enemy. But I did not see 
them employ the modern infantry tactics of making short 
rushes in squads. On all the distant hilltops the Russian 
observing stations and outposts were plainly visible. Among 
the green vegetation of the higher gullies could be seen 
thin lines of smoke from little camp-fires, and up the 
valleys the blue smoke of the soup wagons. The Third 
Corps, which at this point faced Kuroki's center, was dis- 
tributed on hills from three to eight hundred feet high, from 
which could be seen the nest of mountains at Mo-t'i en-ling 
whence it had so lately come. The Tenth Corps in the 
An-p'ing-Ku-chia-tzu road was deployed on mountains of 
about the same magnitude. On the extreme left of the 
Russian position, at Pen-shi-hu, was one infantry regiment 
and a cavalry detachment commanded by General Rennen- 
camp, whose business it was to guard the flank if not to 
threaten the Japanese rear. Kuroki's left flank, where he 
kept from the beginning the Imperial Guards which he 
advanced had by way of Hsu-yen northward, was opposite 
Kao-feng-shih, four miles to the right of the Feng-huang- 

i 7 8 



Liao-Tang, the Reliance of the Eastern Empire 

ch'eng road. These guards were watched by the Third Corps 
and by a regiment of cavalry under General Greikoff, which 
was a part of General Mischenko's mixed cavalry, artillery, 
and infantry division that filled the opening between the 
troops of the Feng-huang-ch'eng road and three army corps, 
whose operations on the railway were minutely supervised 
by General Kouropatkin himself. The position at Kao-feng- 
shih was on the west bank of a stream that flowed into the 
T'ang from the south. The Japanese to approach the posi- 
tion came down from mountains much more lofty than those 
which sheltered the right flank of the Third Corps, and 
approached among foothills and through gullies a cultivated 
plain more than a mile wide. The Russian position at this 
point guarded one of the main roads to Liao-yang from the 
south. The mountains grew smaller as they approached 
the plain of the Liao and ended in the small hills at An-shan- 
chan and Hai-ch'eng. 

The Russians were waiting for the Japanese to push up 
on the south. Since the middle of July they had become very 
anxious about the east, where they had suffered so many 
reverses within a short time that they would not have been 
greatly surprised, many of them, to have awakened one 
morning to find Kuroki on the crests of the hills overlooking 
the city. The assembled Russian armies had now fallen so 
far back as to come into close contact with each other. The 
army base was accessible and officers of every column were 
enabled to freely discuss all the details of the campaign with 
each other. In the International Hotel in Liao-yang, in 
the garden at the pagoda, and in the restaurant at the station, 
they exchanged stories of defeat and first learned that the 
events of the campaign were not simply a history of falling 
back before the enemy in order to reach a more favorable 
position. 

With the evacuation of Ta-shih-ch'iao the battles for the 

179 



The Tragedy of Russia 



possession of southern Manchuria ended. On the Hsu-yen- 
Hai-ch'eng road the Japanese Imperial Guard had been 
replaced by troops of the army of Nodzu, and General Mis- 
chenko, at the battle of Ta-shih-ch'iao, had fallen back to 
Si-mu-ch'ang on the Hai-ch'eng road, merely annoying the 
enemy's advance with his artillery in obedience to the orders 
issued by General Kouropatkin for the entire conduct of the 
battle of Ta-shih-ch'iao. A week later he fell back from Si- 
mu-ch'ang in the same manner, retiring under screen of his 
artillery. The defense of the strong works about Hai-ch'eng 
was much less formidable than the defense of Ta-shih-ch'iao 
and those works were evacuated virtually without battle after 
the Japanese had taken the outlying positions. General 
Kouropatkin retired from here with such promptness that 
General Oku, who was in command of the Japanese army 
on the railway notified the native magistrate that they would 
not occupy the native city, and they moved straight on toward 
An-shan-chan. 

In July the Russian Emperor announced the birth of a 
son, Alexia, and his appointment as colonel-in-chief of the 
Twelfth East Siberian Rifle Regiment, which was the regi- 
ment that had distinguished itself at Ch-iu-lien-ch'eng. The 
event was announced in an extra special, printed by the 
official newspaper — the M ancharian Army Viestnik. Not- 
withstanding a shade of gloom in the army, there was an 
amount of celebration and even merrymaking, especially 
among the men of the Twelfth Regiment and their friends 
in honor of this event. It was surprising to a stranger the 
amount of Russian good-fellowship and spontaneity, and the 
flimsiest excuse by which it can be provoked, and especially 
surprising is the quantities of liquids consumed. Up to 
this time, although the troops had been continually beaten, 
the army seemed outwardly, at least to the casual observer, 
as care-free as possible. In the back court in the International 

180 



Liao-Yang, the Reliance of the Eastern Empire 

Hotel captains, colonels and generals could be found any day, 
and occasionally from late morning breakfast to late at night, 
repeatedly greeting each other with kisses through their 
heavy beards and making merry over liquor, champagne and 
beer. It reminded one of Port Arthur just before the open- 
ing of the war. Every night had its orgy, and out of these 
grew many troubles for the commander-in-chief. It seemed 
to be a natural characteristic to begin breakfast with cham- 
pagne. A young officer who had not the wherewithal to 
meet the bill, gave a large dinner and afterward established 
himself in the dining court at the International Hotel to 
carry on a continual carouse with visitors. He would begin 
in the morning on a bottle of liquor, and at night was always 
certain of being carried out to his room by the Chinese 
waiters. It took a fortnight by military process to transfer 
him from the army base to the rear. A staff officer and 
three companions, who mixed their champagne with beer and 
vodka, and among them could not raise fifty rubles with 
which to pay their bill, would monopolize the hotel. 

The officers were not all incontinent or indifferent. There 
were plenty of them with opinions and an appreciation of 
the great events about to take place. When the Japanese 
had now closed up around all our outlying positions, one 
officer declared solemnly that Japan was now playing a very 
dangerous game. In the restaurant in the railway station one 
of Mischenko's officers related his experiences with the new 
shimose powder which was in use by the Japanese. He had 
had his first encounter with it at the Big Pass below Si-mu- 
ch'ang, where he said the Japanese fired it from naval guns. 
It had left the effect of dizziness, with which he was at inter- 
vals afflicted. He took with him to the rear, to which he 
was bound, a wholesome respect for the Japanese fighting 
man. Another, who was a serious man, and had humbly 
taken to heart the lessons of the campaign, lessons which so 

181 



Tiic Tragedy of Russia 



many of his superiors had despised, said that it would not be 
strange if out of Japan should come a great military leader 
who should be as far in advance of his time as was Genghis 
Khan. He spoke of the enterprise and courage and power 
of the Japanese and the surprise which they had given the 
army. 

With a subtle divination that seems to belong to men who 
have no friend but heaven, it became known that the Port 
Arthur fleet was attempting to escape, and serious men gave 
up the hope of Port Arthur's holding out. It was generally 
admitted the latter part of July that it would fall soon, and 
every day awaited its expected doom. The Viceroy Alexeieff 
abandoned Mukden for Vladivostok, where he intended to 
receive any portion of the fleet which might arrive there. 
The army at no time claimed that any of these vessels would 
reach that haven, for they had come to scoff at every declara- 
tion and device of the navy, and they were right, because 
only the most sinister prophecies came true. Many did, 
however, assume that the fortress of Port Arthur had accom- 
plished what was originally expected of it, and that was, 
to hold out until the Russian army was concentrated in force 
in the defenses at Liao-yang. It was widely believed that 
the Japanese army had reached the limit of its numerical 
strength, and it was reported throughout the position that 
the Japanese recruits were wholly young boys. It is interest- 
ing to know that there was a wide belief that the supply of 
Japanese recruits was all but exhausted and that financial 
difficulties would soon begin in Japan which would compel 
her to sue for peace. It was even believed that Russia could 
buy innumerable war vessels to replace her lost fleet, just as 
after the battle of Mukden it was quite widely believed in 
the Russian army that Rodjestvensky could bring his fleet 
through the Arctic Ocean and that the Czar could purchase 
at his convenience the Chilean, the Argentinean, or some other 

182- 



Liao-Yang, the Reliance of the Eastern Empire 

neutral fleet. If this had been the irresponsible talk only 
of the ignorant it could be dismissed without notice, but 
these possibilities were discussed in Russian-Manchurian 
newspapers, and the navies which the Czar was to shortly 
purchase were illustrated in their principal journals and dis- 
cussed throughout the Eastern Empire. The hopes of many 
Russians were yet, generally speaking, truly magnificent and 
their credulity was only matched by their hitherto disdainful 
disparagement of the enemy. 

On August ioth the whole fleet at Port Arthur escaped 
and started for the high seas. It was apprehended by the 
Japanese fleet and dispersed, part of it returning and taking 
refuge in Port Arthur harbor, but the principal vessels, includ- 
ing the Czarevitch, Askold, Diana and others were damaged 
and fled south, taking refuge from their pursuers in the 
neutral harbors of Chefoo, Tsing-tao and Shanghai, where 
they were interned to wait the end of the war. The general 
staff at Liao-yang took every precaution to prevent this news 
of the practical destruction of the Port Arthur fleet from 
becoming known in the army. The official reports were so 
arranged that it required thirteen days to make known the 
fact that a sea fight had occurred near the coast of Korea, and 
the army was only beginning to realize that there had been 
another disaster when the battle of Liao-yang came on. 
The news quickly spread among the officers and augmented 
the feeling of depression which was one of the effects of 
their continuous reverses, so that when on August 24th the 
Japanese, inspired anew by the effects of Togo's success, 
moved against the Liao-yang position, the Russian army, in 
addition to having been beaten back a hundred and fifty 
miles from the sea and to having sustained a nearly complete 
moral defeat, carried into the contest now forced upon them 
the weight of another disaster. Port Arthur was believed 
by them to be lost. On the very eve of battle the infirmities 

183 



The Tragedy of Russia 



of the army were canvassed. One heard charges that officers 
at An-shan-chan and elsewhere on the new position were gen- 
erally drinking and unfit for duty, and that demi-monda'inc 
could be seen riding a la cavalier around the works and even 
going up to the firing line. In the center, where the battle 
was to open, artillery was still placed on the tops of the hills. 

On the eve of the repulses and losses that made the situ- 
ation so hopeless, the indefinable gloom was expressed in 
strange and uncanny noises. First there were the street 
gamins singing rude but musical imitations of Russian 
marching songs, giving at the end the " hip," " hip," with 
which the soldiers greeted their officers. At the breaches 
in the city walls, where the slick tough mud was more 
than uncommonly deep, stragglers labored breathless and 
fatigued — a pathetic sight — sinking under their monstrous 
equipment. Swiss musical boxes could be heard from beyond 
the moat, where men of a musical turn were singing from 
some opera. It rained irresolutely and the day was gray and 
regretful, such as reminds one of the mistakes of life, of the 
vanities of politics and of ambition. 

The air was full of rumors. The Liao River was now 
a line of communication for the Japanese, whose scouts were 
reported by the Hussars to have arrived at the bend of the 
T'ai-tzu, fifteen miles west of Liao-yang. Japanese cavalry 
had appeared on the railway as far north as Tieh-ling. There 
were repeated rumors of the approach of the Japanese to 
Mukden from the southeast. The size of the Japanese army 
was greatly exaggerated and Liao-yang, the army base, was 
intermittently agitated by the fear that it was about to be 
besieged. 



184 



CHAPTER XIX 

PRELIMINARY ACCOUNT OF THE BATTLE OF LIAO-YANG 

^lBOUT August io, 1904, General Kharkevitch, the 
/-\ quartermaster general, went around the outposts at 
«*- -»- An-shan-chan, and receiving their reports, he re- 
marked gravely, " Yes, it is certain, the Japanese have all 
gone to Port Arthur." As a rule Russian officers at this 
time unhesitatingly affirmed that the Japanese were at Port 
Arthur. 

The middle of August the Japanese caused the railroad to 
be damaged by an explosion between Liao-yang and Muk- 
den, and these alarms were immediately followed by an 
exit of foreign women and children and some civilians, includ- 
ing the bank staff, who retired to Mukden. A number of 
hospitals followed. After the fighting of the last of July, 
the Japanese had fallen away on the east and also on the 
south, but by the third week in August they had closed up 
on the east and were reported to be marching upon Mukden. 
A force reached Pen-shi-hu and occupied the south bank of 
the T'ai-tzii, opposite the Russian position there and kept 
up a demonstration. 

The battle of Liao-yang, for which Kouropatkin had for 
four months prepared, was now about to begin. In the words 
of the Czar's strategists at St. Petersburg and at Liao-yang, 
the Japanese had now come to that point in the interior 
which had been selected with this end in view, and " where 
could be followed up a crushing defeat to the bitter end, 
with blow after blow sealing the fate of the campaign." 

185 



The Tragedy of Russia 



The army itself interpreted this to mean making peace in 
Tokyo and this was now the boast of the Imperial party. 
This element was already beginning to be ridiculed by a large 
element of the army that had discovered the object of the 
war and were disposed to resent the invasion of Manchuria 
and the participation in a quarrel brought on by political 
conspirators. They realized that a long series of defeats was 
a sorry preparation for this great victory which they were 
about to win and about which they had heard so much. 
Every general who had attacked the Japanese had been 
defeated, and every general who had been attacked by the 
Japanese had lost his position. Sassulitch, Stoessel, Stackel- 
berg, Zarubaieff, Keller, Hershelman, and others, had met 
defeat in one form or another. 

The main position of the Russian army when the battle 
began extended from Ku-chia-tzu through Kung-ch'ang-ling 
and Liang-chi-shan to Kao-feng-shih, and thence to An-shan- 
chan on the railway. The Japanese closed up on the south- 
east and east, and when they began to shell the Russian posi- 
tions the explosion of their shrapnel, more than twenty miles 
away, could be distinctly seen from the walls of Liao-yang 
and the guns could be faintly heard. A signal station was 
established on the northwest corner of the city wall, where 
the operators attracted curious attention from the natives. A 
heliograph was constantly flashing signals from the top of 
Shou-shan, a solitary hill rising over four hundred feet above 
the plain two and a half miles south of the railway station. 
General Oku was the last to close up on the south and to 
begin the greatest and most terrible battle he had yet 
fought, for no defense on the south equaled the efforts of 
Stackelberg at Wa-fang-tien (Te-li-ssii) until Shou-shan was 
reached. Stackelberg was again in command and held his 
position for a short time at An-shan-chan. Kuroki, by his 
advance through the Mo-t'ien-ling, had relieved Oku of 

186 




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General Orloff (autograph). He was entrusted by Kouropatkin with the task of crushing 

the head of Kuroki's column at the battle of Liao-yang, but was carried 

from the field wounded after a practically unsuccessful battle 



r 



Preliminary Account of the Battle of Liao-Yang 

serious fighting between Wa-fang-tien and Liao-yang, and he 
was the first now to close up against the Russian position. 
Kuroki's Imperial Guards reconnoitered before Kao-feng- 
shih on the twenty-fourth of August and advanced upon the 
Russian lines, driving in the Russian outposts, and on the 
twenty-fifth engaged the Third Siberian Corps of General 
Ivanoff in a great artillery engagement lasting two days. 
The Japanese employed their captured Russian guns and 
projectiles. 

As heretofore, they placed their captured guns immedi- 
ately into service, disclosing the disquieting fact that the 
Russian gunners did not take out the breach-blocks of their 
guns when giving them up, as was generally claimed. The 
attack was carried out with such determination as to alarm 
the Russian center. Notwithstanding the wide valley which 
the Japanese had to cross at this place, their infantry advanced 
and attacked Ivanoff's right. Though their losses were 
apparently very large they succeeded in reaching a position 
under the Russian fortified hills. 

The position of the Russians was a strong one. Their 
batteries were well situated, and some at least remained 
hidden. The cannonade, beginning at 5 : 30 in the morning, 
was accompanied by rifle fire extending for three miles along 
the front of the Third Corps. The Japanese, while pushing 
their infantry attack, concentrated their artillery fire, and in 
several instances located with accuracy the advanced Russian 
batteries. The attempt at this point by the Japanese to break 
the Russian center was so vigorous that both infantry and 
artillery re-enforcements were moved up the valley of this 
affluent of the T'ang to support the line there. The infantry 
moved up very cautiously about eight o'clock in the morning 
and the artillery hid itself as best it could in the kao-liang of 
the river bottom, where it was difficult to move about on 
account of the recent rains. 

is? 



The Tragedy of Russia 



On the 25th Ivanoff was also being attacked at Liang- 
chi-shan, and from the center the cannonading could be heard 
at An-shan-chan. The Tenth Corps on the east had been 
engaged, and on the 26th a battle was fought along the 
whole outlying Liao-yang position. In the night General 
Kouropatkin, although not at all beaten, issued orders to 
retire to the next line of defense. The Tenth Corps retired 
to the An-p'ing position; the Third Corps to the passes of 
Wang-pao-t'ai; and, abandoning the magnificent fortifications 
at An-shan-chan, with hardly a shot, except from two or 
three batteries of artillery to check the advancing columns of 
Oku, Stackelberg hurried away over roads like rivers, losing 
sixteen guns, which could not be pulled out of the mud. The 
breaking of harness and the succumbing of caissons and 
animals in the sloughs made it a dismal retreat. 

Stackelberg, then, after three hundred casualties, fell back 
from An-shan-chan. The continued cannonading brought on 
heavy rains and the streams threatened to become impassable. 
On the 27th, the Japanese having moved up, there was a 
small skirmish in front of the Third Corps, which on the 
28th took a position farther in, south-southeast of Liao- 
yang on the Meng-chia-fang road, where there was no pre- 
pared position in the way of trenches, and the corps worked 
all night in the smooth ground digging defenses and prepar- 
ing for the great part which it was to play in the battle of 
the 29th and 30th. All the afternoon of the day it arrived 
it struggled through the rocky hamlets and up the hillsides 
where there were no roads. 

The Tenth Corps, defending the An-p'ing road, now sus- 
tained the main attack on the east, and though supported by 
the Seventeenth European Army Corps, which had moved 
from its position north of the T'ai-tzii, where it was in 
reserve, to An-p'ing, it was defeated and driven into the 
Liao-yang plain, leaving the region open for the subsequent 

188 



Preliminary Account of the Battle of Liao-Tang 

dash made by General Kuroki to the Yen-t'ai mines for the 
purpose of cutting off the Russian retreat. The Third Corps, 
fighting the battle of the Meng-chia-fang road, behaved 
splendidly under the generalship of Ivanoff, who was able 
with his artillery placed about the Village of Chao-fan-t'un 
to prevent the entrance of the Japanese by the Meng-chia- 
fang road. 

The artillery of the Third Corps, after its long training 
in the battles of the Feng-huang-ch'eng road, was probably 
the most skillful in the army. Ivanoff was well acquainted 
with this branch of the military, and at the beginning of the 
battle of the 29th he maneuvered the bulk of his guns to his 
right flank, with which he withstood the assault by Nodzu's 
army, and was able to protect Stackelberg's east flank from 
the heavy charges by Oku. General Stackelberg, command- 
ing the south, had taken up his position on Shou-shan and 
was watching the development of Oku's grand frontal assault. 

By the 26th the sounds of battle could be detected coming 
from all parts of the line, and the natives of Liao-yang, who 
were undemonstrative and orderly, began to close their shops 
and to steal out into the streets. Outside the compound 
in which I lived there was a great mound of debris from an 
ancient extinct pottery. It was higher than the city walls and 
very large, and upon its crest a crowd of native spectators 
had gathered and could see from their vantage a great pano- 
rama of bursting shrapnel fifty miles in length. For the most 
part native trade and shopping in the streets was undisturbed. 
Cartridge boxes were in general use among the Chinese as 
utensils, and the only alteration in the economy of native 
business was the concealment by the shopkeepers of Russian 
goods, for they were expecting the Japanese. 

After three days, ending the twenty-sixth of August, the 
Russians had retired to the inner Liao-yang position. The 
long lines of wounded came out of the kao-liang fields and 

189 



The Tragedy of Russia 



reached the city walls. In the night of the 26th, when the 
retreating corps encamped in the Liao-yang plain, the 
deserted streets, now silent as the catacombs, were threaded 
by lines of stretcher-bearers, guided by a few lanterns and 
carrying some of the dead and wounded from An-p'ing. It 
was a solemn and impressive sight. The stream of dead and 
wounded that was to overflow every street and roadway had 
already reached the army base. 

Each day's cannonade brought on a fall of rain and the 
roadways were kept sticky and the filth in the city streets 
converted into muck. Through this the victims of the battle- 
field were carried, and in traversing the main thoroughfare 
they passed in one place, in the first days, a street chapel 
where the exhortations of a foreign evangelist were mingled 
with the ribald noises of traffic. At a point opposite the Inter- 
national Hotel was a den of opium smokers where several 
horrible figures were at all times lying in a pale and death- 
like stupor on the k'ang, so near to the thoroughfare that 
the heels of the galloping Cossack ponies strewed them with 
mud. Such it might be said was China while the wolves were 
fighting for her carcass. The Chinese children pursued pass- 
ing Russian officers, singing the songs of the cafes chantant 
and begging for money. 

On the last four days the battle ending with August 31st 
centered in the south road between the hills at Chao-fan-t'un 
and Shou-shan, where Oku ma.de a most desperate and per- 
sistent assault in order to hold the Russian army in its position 
until Kuroki could reach the rear. General Ivanoff made 
daily use of his balloon, which was so close that it attracted 
the Japanese fire. General Stackelberg remained in person 
upon Shou-shan until driven away from his point of observa- 
tion by the most vicious artillery fire. Word came from 
General Kondradovitch, one of his division commanders, that 
he could no longer hold his position ! — that unless reserves 

190 




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Preliminary Account of the Battle of Liao-Tang 

came he would have to fall back. Stackelberg sent back 
word that he must hold his position. And he did, but 
it was with a loss of about twenty-five per cent, of his 
division. 

At one o'clock in the morning of September ist, Kuroki 
was found to be moving toward the Russian rear in the 
direction toward Yen-t'ai. General Kouropatkin, who had 
already begun withdrawing from the position south of Liao- 
yang, hastened the troops northward. The Third Corps — 
General Ivanoff — began to retire on August 31st, and in 
the night of the 31st General Stackelberg abandoned Shou- 
shan — it was said because the Japanese had crept up and 
succeeded in cutting through and breaking his wire entangle- 
ments. Kuroki, after driving in the Tenth and Seventeenth 
corps from the An-p'ing road, awaited his opportunity and 
crossed the T'ai-tzu at the big bend about twelve miles from 
Liao-yang. Kouropatkin, though he gave up the hills on the 
south, held the intrenchments in front of the walls of Liao- 
yang and at the same time arrested Kuroki's movement at 
the end of a three-days' fight, in which the Seventeenth and 
part of the Fifth corps played the principal role. 

On the night of the 3d Liao-yang was given up, and while 
holding Kuroki in the hills east of Yen-t'ai, Kouropatkin 
placed General Zarubaieff in command of the rear-guard 
with forty-four decimated battalions and withdrew the Grand 
Army in the direction of Mukden, retiring more than thirty 
miles from the scene of battle. 

Stackelberg passed up the railway and crossed the T'ai- 
tzii where there were two stationary bridges besides pon- 
toons to facilitate his retreat. The Third and Tenth corps 
crossed by the pontoons and the fords at the northeast! 
corner of the city. The Third rested a day north of Liao- 
yang, suffering at night from the bursting of shrapnel in their 
bivouacs and having their balloon shot at, and was north 

191 



The Tragedy of Russia 



of Yen-t'ai by September 2d in reserve behind Kouropatkin's 
forces. 

The Tenth Corps had lost one battery and perhaps one 
thousand killed and wounded when on August 26th the 
Seventeenth Corps — General Bilderling — crossed the T'ai- 
tzii from his position on the north bank opposite the gap 
between Nodzu and Kuroki to support it. The bluffs where 
he had his position conformed to the line of hills of the inner 
Liao-yang position. An eyewitness reports the events that 
followed. 

When the fighting force of the Seventeenth, under General 
Yanzhul, approached An-p'ing it saw the Japanese shrapnel 
breaking and things were going so badly that it was ordered 
to fall back and deploy in the hills on the right, for it was 
thought that Kuroki was going to try and force the An-p'ing 
road. The Seventeenth Corps bivouacked the night of the 
twenty-sixth of August in the hills on the T'ang River, north 
of the An-p'ing road, and on the 27th was prepared again 
to move. It was drizzling rain — caused by the cannonade — 
and after a few hours orders were received to move back, 
and the corps began recrossing the T'ai-tzu by its pontoons. 
To cover the retirement, the hills on the north of the An-p'ing 
road, which it had just left, were swept with shrapnel by its 
own guns and the infantry kept up a rifle fire through and 
across the kao-liang between the rear-guard and the hills to 
keep the rear clear of the enemy. 

The Seventeenth reoccupied its old position on the bluff 
near Ssu-t'un-tzii. Kuroki kept continually throwing out 
small bodies of troops in all the roadways toward the T'ang 
River and the An-p'ing road to distract the attention of the 
Russians from his intended movement and until he knew 
that his plan was known to Kouropatkin. His strategy was 
successful, for it was fully believed that he was coming down 
the T'ang River, until one o'clock in the morning of Sep- 

192 



Preliminary Account of the Battle of Liao-Tang 



tember ist, when Count Romanoff, of the Fifty-second Dra- 
goons, reported him crossing the T'ai-tzii to the north near 
the Village of Kuan-t'un at a spot marked by an old Chinese 
fort on a high bluff guarding the highway. Kuroki was now 
entirely independent of the Japanese main body and had cut 
himself off. The information was at once sent to Kouro- 
patkin. 

The Japanese began fording and then threw pontoons 
across opposite the bluff. The place was well chosen. It 
was out of range of any Russian batteries and the crossing 
of all of Kuroki's force was practically uninterrupted. The 
force estimated to have crossed on September ist was one 
division, and the crossing continued on the 2d and on the 3d 
without molestation by the Russians. It was completed on 
the 4th. 

Having crossed with his first division, Kuroki advanced 
his infantry against the Village of Si-fan-t'un and established 
his batteries on a low ridge of hills near Kuan-t'un. His 
infantry now continued in the direction of Yen-t'ai. Kouro- 
patkin dispatched the Fifty-fourth Division of the Fifth 
Corps under General Orloff to engage and crush the head 
of Kuroki's advance column. From a hill near Si-fan-t'un 
Kuroki's army could be distinctly seen moving stolidly and 
grandly across the T'ai-tzii. At the same time Orloff was 
approaching the hills back of Si-fan-t'un and the two armies 
came together on the 2d. There was an engagement all 
along the line for about eight miles. The Russians grouped 
their guns in large batteries of thirty-two pieces and fired 
northeast or east rather recklessly, breaking shrapnel along 
the crests of the hills where the advancing Japanese might 
try to entrench. The Japanese replied feebly and contented 
themselves on the evening of the 2d with shelling a hill that 
was the observatory of several generals. 

Kuroki's first bodies were over the T'ai-tzii by the close 

J 93 



The Tragedy of Russia 



of the 2d, though his rear was not over until the 4th. On 
the 2d he practically won his success. By the middle of 
the afternoon General Orloff was carried from the field 
of Si-fan-t'un wounded, and had failed to crush the front of 
Kuroki's column because, as he said, of his raw troops. He 
was removed from the command. Kuroki's advance was 
arrested on the 3d, but it was not seen that his strength was 
already spent. The observation hill at Si-fan-t'un near Yen- 
t'ai mines was hotly contested and the fighting was as terrible 
as some of the fighting in the south road at Liao-yang. The 
Japanese took the hill in the evening and the Russians, unable 
to retake it, fell back. 

On the 3d, at eight o'clock in the morning, a battery on 
the south was firing across the T'ai-tzu at a village where 
Japanese were supposed to be, but otherwise it was quiet 
there. The Japanese replied badly, their shrapnel sometimes 
bursting high in the air. 

The news of the retreat from Liao-yang now reached the 
Seventeenth Corps, which was ordered to retire; the Japanese 
still approaching very strong and persistent. The Seven- 
teenth moved toward Yen-t'ai. Its Third Division formed 
its rear-guard. The Fourth Corps, under General Zaru- 
baieff, with other troops formed the rear-guard for the whole 
army, and the retreat was covered on the right flank by the 
First Siberian Corps of Stackelberg marching up along the 
railway. The rear-guard position extended from Su-ch'en 
on the east to the railway bridge over the T'ai-tzii. All 
other bridges were destroyed. The retreat of the Grand 
Army was unmolested, the Japanese being unable on account 
of exhaustion to pursue. 

The Russians greatly overestimated Kuroki's force, plac- 
ing it at three divisions instead of two. Kouropatkin had 
approximately twice as many troops as Kuroki with which 
to crush the head of Kuroki's column and smash his rear. 

194 



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Preliminary Account of the Battle of Liao-Yang 

His plan was to do this, and should have succeeded according 
to the advantages which he possessed. When he began to 
cross the T'ai-tzii it was thought in the Russian army that 
the intrepid and invincible Kuroki had now made a fatal 
error. The Russians watched him cutting himself off by 
three to eight miles from the rest of the army, and thought 
he was walking into a trap. But Kouropatkin's generals 
seemed to work so badly that no headway against the 
Japanese line was gained until the 3d, when, although the 
Japanese batteries fell back and fired at extreme range and 
disclosed a moral decline in their attack, they could not be 
located by the Russian artillerists and the Russian infantry 
could not advance. 

Stackelberg came in for the blame for failure to crush 
Kuroki. The Seventeenth and Fifth corps troops and others 
that participated in the battle east of Yen-t'ai blamed him 
for retiring from Shou-shan, which movement permitted the 
Japanese army to re-enforce Kuroki. Had this not happened, 
said they, Kuroki's position would have been perilous, not- 
withstanding Orloff's failure. So ended the official and mili- 
tary battle of Liao-yang, in animosity and recrimination, like 
every other battle and engagement since the opening gun on 
the Port Arthur promontory. 



195 



CHAPTER XX 

SURRENDER OF THE ARMY BASE 

THE Japanese struck the Russian center at Kao-feng- 
shih on August 25 th, twenty miles from Liao-yang, 
and it was the operations of the 25th and 26th 
along the entire south and east line that landed the Russians 
at the inner positions of their stronghold and base at Liao- 
yang. Circling around by the great Feng-huang-ch'eng road, 
I entered the Village of Kao-feng-shih. The road there was 
spattered with blood. Shrapnel was bursting over the house 
where I took tiffin with a Chinese family anxious to see a 
stranger not a Russian. The Chinese cheerfully remained 
in their homes — a Chinese has no place but home. In the 
street I accosted a blind man who was wandering about with 
a staff. He said he was " sore afraid " and " knew not 
what affairs were making." I told him it was war, and of 
no use to fear, all would soon be over and he should go back 
and remain in his house, where he would be safe. Greatly 
comforted, he thanked me and went confidently back. As 
I turned around two soldiers were making the hand-saddle, 
which they are taught to use in aiding the wounded, and were 
carefully lifting up a man who was wounded in the leg. 

The heavy Russian batteries above the roofs of the town 
sometimes thundered in volleys, sometimes singly, but always 
a great cloud of dust and smoke went up when the guns 
recoiled in the dry shale and parched soil of the breast- 
works — the same permanent works soiled and arid as the 
now braised, embattled khaki roundabouts of the insidious 

196 



Surrender of the Army Base 



enemy — the same works which, once discovered by the 
Japanese artillerymen, remained a stationary target for hours, 
days, or until wasted under the slow measured fire from 
the enemy's guns. And now with mechanical precision the 
Japanese shells fell like trip-hammers upon these batteries, 
beneath a half dozen of which I passed. Fragments of 
shrapnel and other missiles went coursing and swishing 
through the kao-liang, clipping the leaves and tassels, and 
through the pines above me. At the head of the gully the 
horses of the mountain artillery were standing in the 
hot sun in the open in front of some Chinese huts. There 
was a band resting under the overhanging bank to escape 
the shrapnel which was falling around. The regiment was the 
Twelfth Siberian, of which the young Czarevitch was the 
colonel-in-chief. This was the famous band that with a priest 
had charged at the head of the regiment at the Yalu River. 
These men had always been defeated. This band had never 
played an advance that was not a bitter rout. And yet, with 
the rest of the regiment around the crest of the ridge above, 
they sat loyally awaiting their inevitable discomfiture and 
were stoically and consecutively burying their dead in the 
loam a little farther below. 

I stopped a moment to talk with Captain Netchvolodoff 
and then mounted to the infantry trenches, littered with 
empty cartridges and inhabited by brave, generous, happy- 
go-lucky soldiers. An officer took me out on the skyline and 
naively told me that the Japanese " were right there at the 
foot of the incline, " perhaps three-quarters of a mile away! 
I remonstrated with him for exposing his position where 
twenty-five men could have been killed by a single shot had 
the enemy chosen to put us in target. He thought nothing 
of that — men are by instinct brave. On the right a company 
of men sat under a shower of deadly shrapnel quietly on the 
steep mountainside, while out of their midst a slow, con- 

197 



The Tragedy of Russia 



tinuous trail of wounded, lacerated men worked its way and 
seemed to trickle down the little water-course to the rear. 
The tentacles of death were fastened there. But the men 
calmly lighted their cigarettes while the Conqueror walked 
among them ! As I left the path a captain told me of the 
progress of the battle and said: " Until now victory is with 
us!' How often had I heard that thing! It was one of 
the tragedies and was in accord with the remark of another 
officer: " We always defeat the Japanese, but afterward we 
retreat, why, I do not know ! " 

Five minutes later, as I left the gully, a shell burst just 
behind me and a man was buried there under the waving kao- 
liang. The enemy was shelling the Russian approaches. 
Shells continued to drop in the roadway. In a crevice at the 
side a small hospital squad had finished dressing forty-nine 
wounded. I was now on the right flank and came upon a 
division of cavalry under General Greikoff, who, with his 
staff, was resting under a tree in a village. They were 
anxious to know the last word from the battle-ground, with 
what intense interest their faces plainly showed. I repeated 
what I had been told a couple of miles back, well knowing 
that they knew the truth. Wounded men in litters now took 
up most of the road. In one place I was stopped for a Jap- 
anese and my hair examined to prove or disprove my identity. 

It began to rain, and as the downpour increased the 
sounds of battle seemed to die away. I crossed a pass and 
descended into a little valley leading to An-shan-chan. It 
grew wider and as the rain increased became flooded, so that 
for several miles my horse waded through deep water and 
mud. I could now hear the guns of An-shan-chan, which 
I was approaching, and met soldiers bringing off their 
wounded in litters who inquired the way to the rear. When 
opposite Zarubaieff's left flank I turned north, arriving in 
the Liao-yang plain by the great south road. As I crossed 

198 



Surrender of the Army Base 



the firing zone in front of the trenches back of Shou-shan, I 
noticed that the field works there were under guard. Sen- 
tries warned me to avoid the glacis in front of the trenches, 
where mines and fugases had been planted, and I saw that 
the inner position was being occupied. The retreat to the 
inner position came that night. The Japanese began their 
last bound, and by the time I filed my dispatches at the 
telegraph office the Russians made that last " retirement," 
which brought both to what had been looked upon by the 
world as a final battle-ground. 

The place where the battle was fought lay under the eyes 
of the spectator as he stood upon the city walls, and if 
on horseback he might have traversed it in the saddle, as I 
did every day for six days, over an arc of fifteen miles. To 
me the battle of Liao-yang began with the debouching of 
the Tenth Corps into the Liao-yang plain from the An-p'ing 
road. It was a scene which no witness can forget. This 
army, always beaten, had fought a retreat of three days from 
Kung-ch'ang-ling and An-p'ing passes, where it was attacked 
simultaneously with the attack on the army at Kao-feng-shih. 
The Japanese watched it pass out of the hills at Hsiao-t'un 
with throbbing hearts. 

The Eastern Army also — that of the luckless and unhappy 
Keller — had fought itself back to the plain through the great 
Feng-huang-ch'eng road. But the spectacle, the embodied 
augury, was perched like a raven upon the banners of the 
Tenth. Suddenly I came upon the immutable, the ever 
present line — that of the wounded — struggling downcast, 
threading itself through the transport — that sanguinary mis- 
cellany of the field and of martial vagrancy ! Among the 
crowd passing at the moment was a Greek follower whom 
I had helped to a recovery from dysentery, and I hailed 
him in a way not to attract attention. 

" Where have you been?" 

199 



The Tragedy of Russia 



" Great battley," he replied. " Have had great battley — 
me have fear, have fear speak Anglis! " 

This speech conveyed little more than the state of feeling 
with which Americans and English were regarded, especially 
at the moment. Debouching like a great flood just uncon- 
fined, the army spread fanlike upon the already saddened 
and sodden plain. One nucleus alone arrested and held my 
attention. Armsful of kao-liang were being carried back 
and flung into a steep-banked, deep, muddy and treacherous 
water-course. On the further bank, pouring around both 
sides of and through a village, came the Red Cross cart, 
the soup wagon, the ammunition limber and piece, the taran- 
tass, the transport wagon, precipitating themselves at two 
places into the silo, and plunging like mad through mud, 
water and raw ensilage. From the bank momentary orders 
from a general, anxious faces, cries of " Brava ! " from a 
whipped but willing soldiery, and there a crowd of nurses 
aghast at the scene and troubled for their wounded moaning 
in the tumbrels. Next a burial party interring a line of dead 
on the banks of the T'ai-tzu, and in the rear a great field of 
baggage wagons blocked, their wagoners turning hurtling 
looks backward where the rear-guard could be seen scarcely 
a mile away taking its position on the last friendly hill ! 

At this point, the day following, I rode out to see the 
position — the last hill was gone ! Rosoff, of the Tenth, 
hailed me and asked if I was not afraid. He had nearly been 
killed by his own people on the outpost position a few days 
before. We were standing at the rear-guard battery, which 
fired a few shots and hurriedly left its position in the kao- 
liang while we were talking. Going out past the guard, we 
discovered the Japanese scouts on the hill facing and with- 
drew. 

It was the 29th! There had been battling all the time. 
But now the awestruck native, cowering on the ancient city 

200 



I 
Surrender of the Army Base 

walls to which he was by custom forbidden, saw with his 
own eyes the burst of shell. The storm had gathered and it 
began to break. The skies and earth seemed to exude battle. 
I turned to the southeast to the Meng-chia-fang road, where 
the day's work was to be done, and passed the mouth of the 
great Feng-huang-ch'eng road. Here, too, a file of carts 
of the blood-red cross, tumbling over the stones, led by a 
sister who was not thinking of the Volga — the moaning was 
too loud for that ! There was the sound of guns at Wang- 
pao-t'ai, just up the gorge, and orderlies going up and down. 
An officer hailed me, but before I could answer a Cossack 
rushed by — " See, see ! the Cossack ! He has the gold cross ! 
le croix d!or! It was at Ch-iu-lien-ch'eng " — and both 
were off ! 

Ch'iu-lien-ch'eng ! Kin-chou ! Wa-feng-kao! Mo-t'ien-ling! 
Shi River! Ta-shih-ch'iao ! Kao-feng-shih ! An-p'ing! and 
now — Liao-yang! Legions of crosses, but can they make 
one victory? Two hundred crosses of the Order of St. 
George given to Mischenko's men before the battle of Kao- 
feng-shih, but will they save Liao-yang? 

The next road was ours. It wound through the kao-liang 
and as it approached Chiao-fan-t'un it became a little gorge 
where in the crevices on this side and that the doctors were 
working. The immutable file was there ; the lost bandage, the 
heavy litter, and the blood-marked trail. This was the village 
beyond whose stone-built cottages the artillery horses waited 
out the days and the nights while the guns did their work on 
the hills above. They slept like soldiers in their harness, 
and through the long hours they stood on guard. A shell 
dropped into a house crowded with native women and chil- 
dren who had sought refuge there; few escaped. But no 
matter, they are Chinese ! The Russian censor only laughed 
when he read it in my dispatch. They are Chinese ! 

As I left the position and went back down the little valley, 

201 



V ' ' - l : ' 



The Tragedy of Russia 



the Third Corps had come out of the Feng-huang-ch'eng 
road and was swinging around to the south to the Meng- 
chia-fang road and centering at Shi-chang-yu and Chiao- 
fan-t'un. The staff was inquiring for the camps, the officers 
were inquiring for the staff and the staff again was inquiring 
for troops. There were three peaks above the village that 
were under hot Japanese fire, and the rifles were going. The 
hospital corps in the sunken road had had a hundred and 
forty-nine wounded. The dead were still on the ridges or 
in the enemy's lines. From Shi-chang-yu and Ta-shih the 
Russian guns were throwing shells into the Meng-chia-fang 
road toward evening. Passing up the slope to the west 
toward Ta-shih, I came directly under the shells chasing each 
other through the upper air. The Japanese infantry had 
been closing up in the valley of the south road, and the 
Sixth Siberian Brigade, falling back, flowed past me and filed 
over the foothills. The tired officers spoke pleasantly and 
interestedly to me as they came up with their men, and moved 
behind the three peaks to receive the enemy if he attempted 
to rush the position at night, which it was nearly certain he 
would do. All day Stackelberg had stood under fire on and 
around Shou-shan, a solitary high hill overlooking and com- 
manding the city. The military balloon was in the sky 
behind Ta-shih batteries, and as I passed it w r as being hauled 
down, and I arrived in time to see the officers, who had 
been sitting at a table apparently engaged in a very strenu- 
ous enterprise, get up and go to meet the aeronauts, carrying 
their notebooks as they went. As the sun went down the 
cannonade ceased and rifle-fire went merrily and consistently 
on, extending along the west to beyond the railway. 

The city, which up to this moment had not been without 
its military prodigals, was deserted of the military idler and 
the uniformed voluptuary. At the last breakfast in the for- 
eign hotel before it closed but one officer, a young lieutenant, 

202 




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was there en passant, to ask me with great anxiety if they 
had been able to hold their position during the past night. 

August 30th the guns began along the whole southeast 
and south at dawn, and the long, steady roll, which was the 
proof of many guns, proclaimed that it was to be a great 
day — or a mean one. A Russian correspondent, overhear- 
ing the substance of this remark made to the waiter — it was 
a day when all classes were one — namely, that there was a 
great battle, accepted the familiar tone for the open sesame 
and assured me without apology that I had spoken the truth, 
and added that it was very possible the Japanese would be in 
Liao-yang before nightfall ! 

The tension could not be mistaken, yet all was quiet. 
There was no danger of the battle getting away from us 
now, and all prepared deliberately for terrible things just 
ahead. Two more Russian correspondents came in and sat 
down with the young lieutenant. One of them was afterward 
shot through the breast ! The first correspondent, with his 
field-glasses on the table before him, went on writing a 
dispatch, but what he was telling his people who can say? 
Leaving nothing undone of our usual habits, we ordered 
breakfast, which we ate leisurely and fully to the unbroken 
roll of the guns, and then repaired to our several habitations 
to arrange for the disposition of our baggage. 

At 9 : 00 a.m., having refurnished my saddle-bags and hol- 
sters, I went into the street. Crowds of Chinese were on the 
house-tops and eminences watching the distant battle. Order 
throughout. Clear, bright sunlight. 

10:00. — Staff and other military tenants leaving settle- 
ment with all baggage. Foreign attaches taken under escort 
to railway bridge north of the city. 

10: 30. — Hailed from top of west gate of city by camp- 
follower of the Feng-huang-ch'eng road, who shouts down 
at me gleefully, u Heh you do? You go see big battley, 

203 



The Tragedy of Russia 



he) : ' Vou come back here? Good-by." These vagrants 
of the market-place, these waifs of the bloody trail! by what 
devious ways they move. And yet apparently there is a 
Providence caring for them, for they flourish alike in crowded 
city and lonely field. 

10:45. — All fences about settlement removed to allow 
free passage of military wagons and troops. Servants 
neglected are cooking over fires built against the houses, 
sending great black stains up the brickwork. Red Cross 
hospital, which yesterday pre-empted the little " square ' 
opposite the station, contests with the helter-skelter and the 
mud a few feet of space at the gate wherein to receive and 
tend its wounded. 

1 1 : 00. — Arrive at Shou-shan, where battle is centering. 
Shrapnel now bursting over the north end and over the inside 
of this hill. Stopped for a Japanese and examined by the 
soldiers. Roadway full of officers and ammunition wagons. 
Engineers leveling Chinese graves in all directions and cut- 
ting down trees, destroying all cover in glacis before rifle 
defenses. Every one gazes. Engineers and reserve officers 
waiting in kao-liang, hail all who will stop and inquire the 
fortune of the hour. Contingents concealed here and there. 
Cloudy. Drizzling. Battle jamming and thumping like a 
steam pump. Japanese working along railway, their infan- 
try advancing by uncovered trenches. 

11:30. — Arrived at artillery outposts on South road. 
Japanese shelling plain ahead where artillery guards con- 
cealed. Shells striking close to Red Cross camp. Shot going 
" clip," " clip," through wet kao-liang. Russians succeed in 
silencing one Japanese battery, having found the range from 
their balloon. Japanese increase most destructive fire. 

3 : 00 p.m. — Staff officers say losses yesterday were three 
thousand, but that to-day the casualties will be double those 
of yesterday. 

204 



Surrender of the Army Base 



3 : 30. — Arrive under shrapnel fire, where Japanese have 
the range of a Russian battery in front of IvanofPs head- 
quarters near Ta-shih. In rear meet an officer speaking a 
little French, who informs me, " We have on east the Mr. 
Kuroki. We have here the Mr. Nodzu. Here the Mr. 
Oku ! On dit pour le moment nous avons la victoire! " The 
Russian is a large-hearted and very likeable man. Rifle 
firing in front of Meng-chia-fang. Wounded lugged through 
kao-liang along wet roads are let down to rest in mud and 
puddles where the water trickles slowly through the canvas 
litters. 

4 : 00. — Japanese cease cannon firing on Shou-shan and 
vicinity. Battle continues in Meng-chia-fang road. Japs 
maintaining vigor of attack against the Russian center, no 
doubt for purpose of holding the enemy until they can strike 
its rear. Reserves lounge in little camps along the banks of 
the sunken road, awaiting orders. 

7 : 00. — Cannonading at Chiao-fan-t'un stops. 

August 31st. — Attacks and rushes by the Japanese 
throughout the night. 

9 : 45 a.m. — Japanese shelling north end of Shou-shan. 
Occasional shell-bursts along south and southeast horizon. 
Guns but faintly heard. 

1 1 : 30. — Lively Russian cannonade on east throwing shot 
up Feng-huang-ch'eng road. 

For four days I had now made the round of the battlefield, 
and on this, the fifth, I started up the T'ai-tzu to find out 
the significance of the last attack of the day before, which 
was made by the Japanese from the direction of Wang-pao- 
t'ai. The Russians had all the time feared a crushing attack 
upon their center, which they kept strongly guarded. But 
the Village of Kao-li-ch'un at the mouth of the road was 
quiet, and at the batteries on the hill to the right, where I 
took tiffin in the breastworks, there was only an occasional 

205 



The Tragedy of Russia 



shot fired. The commander of this battery had the air of 
a true soldier. He reminded me of the men who proved their 
military ability in our Civil War. An American could not 
have seemed more of my kind. He was anything but the 
1 Chinovnik," whom the Russian alike despises. He merely 
asked me if I had my papers, and was entirely satisfied with 
an affirmative, asking me not to take them out. I could not 
resist the concern with which he regarded the situation, as he 
could not help but know it now. He was undoubtedly a 
brave man, and as he led me up to the range-finder and 
pointed out the Japanese position into which he was planting 
a desultory fire, he said impressively, although I had never 
seen him before, " If the Japanese win this war, America 
will have to fight Japan. Your country will have to fight 
Japan." The driven look and the resignation to the inevita- 
ble, which now characterized so many of the Russians, was in 
his face and pose. Capture, loss of his guns, defeat, death — 
all seemed to be alike to him. 

A little further around were two batteries hid in the kao- 
liang. They were chugging like a full-fed thresher as I 
approached, throwing shot and shell into Meng-chia-fang. 
Ammunition wagons swept past up the valley and, swerving 
round to the left, entered the dry bed of a stream and 
arrived at the guns. Giving the rein to an artilleryman 
where the gun horses were concealed, I went up to the 
batteries. 

They were firing steadily, and I noticed with curiosity and 
astonishment that at least fifteen per cent, of their own shells 
were bursting within a few hundred yards of the muzzles 
of their guns, showing the defects of their ammunition. 

A young officer pointed out the position, as well as the 
signal officer of his battery, standing on a distant hill, to the 
right of whom again, on the skyline, was a battery that had 
had a terrible shelling a few hours before. Every upland 

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Surrender of the Army Base 



had its complete defense works, and in the most unexpected 
places one came upon rifle-pits, trenches, and breastworks 
occupied or destined to be occupied by the rear-guard before 
many hours passed. A prisoner, a Japanese, was brought 
down the road — the soldiers, apparently very proud of him, 
had given him a piece of their black bread to chew upon. 
He seemed unfamiliar indeed with the nutriment, and I have 
no doubt he contrasted it with his own sweet white rice. 
He trudged along like a man resting — a model for a sculp- 
tor — erect, elastic, a king beside the slaves around him. 
His uniform was a jacket molded to his figure by the muscles 
beneath, short, roundabout, and spare at the neck. Bandy 
legs covered with muscle-molded khaki, linen leggins, and 
short, broad toe-turned marching shoes. A staff officer rode 
behind me out of the position, and I made my way alone to 
Chiao-fan-t'un, where the firing had revived. 

The Russians were disputing every hillock against the 
repeated assaults of the Japanese. The echo of bursting 
shrapnel, always the terrorizing shrapnel, was fierce; and the 
battle now moved on with the regularity and precision of a 
machine. The combatants were now so close at this point 
that the guns seemed to hug. Shells from the unseen Japan- 
ese guns were fanning the muzzles of our battery right at 
the top of the little pass separating Chiao-fan-t'un from 
Meng-chia-fang, while on the opposite hill a Japanese, so 
close that I could make out the outlines of his cap — shoveling 
up shale to make a shelter or a gun position — wriggled like 
a salamander in a fire so hot that it seemed to pare off the 
entire crest of the hill as a wave rolls flotsam up a beach! 
The upper part of the man's body, moving like a pump- 
handle, disappeared, appeared, disappeared throughout the 
afternoon in a spot where it was incredible that anything 
could live. One gun alone was doing the work, sending shell 
after shell in such rapid succession that they broke like the 

207 



The Tragedy of Russia 



thong and cracker of a whip, encircling the hilltop and 
whisking its crest away! 

After watching this marvelous spectacle for two hours 
the firing began to increase on the west. It was now five 
o'clock. As I went over the long low hills constituting the 
inner battery position opposite the south wall of the Chinese 
city, I became entangled in a network of half-finished defense 
works, where were treacherous ditches and huge timbers 
scattered about. Extricating myself with difficulty I passed 
on and was surprised to find the ridge deserted. But the 
batteries were now concealed at the foot of the hills behind 
the kao-liang; and the whistle and howl of the shells was 
still so vicious as to make the flesh creep. It was cloudy 
and growing into half-light of evening. Looking back I 
could plainly see the lurid flash of the guns where I had taken 
tiffin near the mouth of the Feng-huang-ch'eng road, and a 
sudden wish possessed me, a longing to be with the brave 
commander through the night. Here I passed the engineers 
on the last little knoll, removing debris where they had dug 
trenches that were never used. They had stepped aside to 
allow wounded to pass. These I followed down the crooked 
road into the kao-liang, into the gloom and the night of the 
relentless kao-liang. Soldiers burning with fever cast away 
their shirts, and between two companions hunchbacked along 
the slimy track, their arched backs and bandaged chests 
kneading and hugging the steel, the clot and the fever in their 
vitals. Oh ! but war is sweet ! Better they were solitary on 
the ghostly peak, rigid within the deserted trench, quiet 
on the silent ridge, or cold-faced and puddle-choked within 
the dark kao-liang, than to wander lost to their death that 
night ! 

For some time, in front, the long line of hills leading 
away from Shou-shan was flowered with explosions like a 
diffused volcano. In the half day, half night, now the fire, 

208 



Surrender of the Army Base 



and now the fleece of the bursting shells leapt into view. 
Quick, Agatha, over the hill, out of range, out of sight of 
an enemy whom nothing escapes ! But it is only to feel that 
to dodge a bullet here is but to meet the missile there. But 
the mare is only human, and she seems to know, as she knew 
when a few days later we gave the slip to our Japanese 
captors. We passed a battery in the kao-liang — the blue, 
purple, green lights of the kao-liang — long tongues of flame 
licking the blades toward us. Under the grewsome light 
and before the grewsome spectacle, Agatha never flinched. 

The battle line lengthened on the south and west as the 
Japanese, who kept up an insidious rush through the south 
valley all day, replacing the lost reserves, plunged with 
indomitable determination into the charge. The Russian 
line was swept back — all but the little garrison, which would 
not surrender. There were men there who never surren- 
dered. Some were swallowed up in the enemy's lines. Some 
came back in litters, and one, passing through the compound 
of the Scotch missionary, Dr. Westwater, sang, as he was 
borne along with his arm gone, of the glory of Kouropatkin. 
Four days later, when I was a captive in the Japanese lines, 
I learned what became of this brave little garrison, of whom 
scarcely more than a half dozen escaped. All the world now 
knows how they were bottled with sandbags in a gallery of 
one of the trenches, and their lives spared by their gallant 
captors when they had been completely conquered. 

At seven darkness closed the contest, and in my dispatch 
concerning the day's work (among the very last dispatches 
sent out of Liao-yang) I was obliged to say that it was not 
possible at that hour to know the significance of the day's 
fight. This proved true, for reasons which made the mor- 
row a memorable day. In the night Mischenko was detached 
from the extreme right and dispatched fifteen miles north- 
ward to oppose Kuroki, who in his dash for the Russian rear 

209 



The Tragedy of Russia 



had arrived in front of the last Russian hill position east 
of Yen-t'ai. This night of September ist was one of terrible 
suffering for those soldiers of the rear-guard, whom no aid 
could reach. It had been growing damp in the kao-liang, 
and a great storm which had been gathering throughout the 
afternoon broke over the battlefield just as the cannon 
stopped. Across and through this three or four miles of 
kao-liang plain the maimed and wounded wandered, lost in 
the serpentine roads, wrenched about in the slippery paths, 
caught in the sloughs and ditches — brave, whipped, but un- 
conquered men, doing the will of the Czar. 

The order of the battlefield on the evening of this day 
was approximately as follows: Stackelberg was still facing 
Oku on the railway and to the west of the railway, his right 
flank after Mischenko was detached, left to General Greikoff. 
On Stackelberg's left, facing Nodzu, was Ivanoff with the 
Eastern Army, and on the left of this, the Tenth Corps fac- 
ing Nishi. Ivanoff had his headquarters in the Village of 
Ta-shih, but now moved back to a point east of the native 
city where he had two pontoon bridges in his rear. All day 
these bridges had been crowded with transports going north, 
and it was apparent that the entire army south of the T'ai- 
tzii was making good its prospect of retreat. A hundred 
thousand men were moving when the night came ! 

The troops east of Stackelberg still held the hill positions 
covering the south road, the Meng-chia-fang road and the 
Feng-huang-ch'eng road. Though the Japanese had broken 
the center and closed in on Stackelberg along the railway, 
the east remained undisturbed. The Russian general, how- 
ever, was not deceived by the situation. When he withdrew 
Mischenko to strengthen the east flank north of the T'ai-tzii, 
he at the same time fell back uniformly from the Japanese 
frontal attack. 

The morning of September ist was one of bright sunlight 

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and calm. There were no traces of the storm of the night 
before. But Stackelberg had fallen back from Shou-shan, 
leaving it in possession of the Japanese, who had early dis- 
covered the operation. The sense of this terrible fact made 
the peace of that eventful morning sinister indeed, for it 
meant that the evacuation of the city was a matter of only a 
few hours. At eight o'clock all civilians and camp-followers 
were ordered out. In an hour of unwarranted excitement 
the Russian commissare of police ordered all Chinese to leave 
the city within two days. But as the Chinese never compre- 
hend any peremptory order, no matter from whom it eman- 
ates, it had no effect whatever. On the other hand, the 
foreign merchants and camp-followers besieged the railway 
station for transportation which they could not get and, 
caught in a trap, began to offer their goods in the street. 
The station was crowded but orderly. The platform was 
filled with officers. From where? Who could tell? Shou- 
shan loomed up but a couple of miles down the track, and it 
seemed to me each second would bring its hell of shrieking 
shell about our ears, but there was not a man there who 
seemed to care a button. It was more than an hour after, 
when I was finishing my tiffin in the refreshment room, where 
every one was attending to his own wants, and the Chinese 
waiters were so overtaxed they hurried about in confusion, 
that the first shell whinnied and bowled along through the 
upper air until it arrived opposite the post-office, where it 
broke. 

The effect upon the crowd was instantaneous. Every one 
thereabout realized that they were under the muzzles of the 
guns of perhaps several batteries only hid by the vast kao- 
liang fields to the south. In a few moments most of the 
population was moving northward with shoulders shrugged 
as though anticipating the next shell, or the third, or a 
volley upon their individual backs. At the third or fourth 

211 



The Tragedy of Russia 



shell, troops, hospitals, merchants, residents, railway trains, 
cleared from the settlement, leaving only transport and the 
quartermaster's guards in care of the stores. Vehicles of 
every description were levied upon to remove the stores piled 
along the track — Chinese carts, ammunition limbers, artil- 
lery, each bore off whatever of grain or goods it could accom- 
modate. This business was carried on with the usual Russian 
composure, under the certainty that the Japanese were at the 
same time placing more guns in position at Shou-shan. Com- 
ing out of the restaurant, I mounted my horse and rode 
through the settlement. In front of the telegraph office a 
shell burst, killing a cavalry horse under the nose of my own, 
while another shell burst over a hospital on my right. Others 
landed in the station garden and on the buildings parallel 
to the railway. Under the old pagoda, between the settle- 
ment and the city wall, was a summer garden from which the 
mid-day guests and the proprietors and waiters unceremoni- 
ously bolted, leaving the restaurant at the mercy of whoever 
dared to loot it, and plunged into the helter-skelter of panic- 
stricken officers and orderlies, troops and camp-followers, 
seeking refuge under the north wall or across the T'ai-tzii. 
The roads were strewn with goods and chattels and sug- 
gested a rout. The Russian batteries now opened a fire on 
Shou-shan, which they had but lately occupied, maintaining 
a demonstration in that direction all day. 

Inside the city the people were quietly awaiting the out- 
come in their houses. The streets were given over to stray 
baggage trains here and there hurrying through, and to the 
curious. The native shops were closed as soon as the first 
shell broke over the settlement. Hastily removing my bag- 
gage from the city, I went across the T'ai-tzii. Here was 
all the paraphernalia of the armies scattered through the 
fields en route north. Re-enforcements of artillery were 
going up along the hills, while a few trains moved along the 

212 



Surrender of the Army Base 



railway. The hospital corps were busy burying dead by the 
roadsides in previously selected places, or hurrying corpses 
and wounded to some unperceived haven. Toward evening 
I returned to the city, which seemed to be growing ominously 
calm and solitary. From the northwest corner and the helio- 
graph station, which was directly in range of the heavy fire 
delivered against one of the Russian batteries outside the 
west gate, I could overlook the settlement, which was now 
completely deserted except for some occasional wounded 
men being carried in through one of the breaches in the west 
wall. Sometimes, too, a soldier, having looted his fill of 
vodka and waving the half-empty bottle in his hand, stag- 
gered from between the gray buildings and came into the 
city. Continuing along the wall, I arrived at the southwest 
corner, inside which a Red Cross corps had pitched camp, 
and, mounting to the top, where I looked almost over the 
battery to which I have referred, I could see that it was 
being pounded as with a mighty pile-driver and now exca- 
vated as by some subterranean monster, while the air seemed 
to have reached the boiling point. The greatest experiences 
of my life were now crowded into a moment. 

Three miles to the south the Japanese were moving 
grandly over the low hills that had been the Russian inner- 
most battery position. It was a long distance, but I could 
plainly see, and was the first there to discover a battery, 
and, in the breathless moment that succeeded, a company 
of infantry skirting the abandoned Russian artillery works, 
open order; then another leaving its men and officers strewn 
over the slope, but coming grandly over the ridge and into 
the kao-liang below. At this point and on this occasion one 
battalion lost every officer, and, led by a corporal, was taken 
and intrenched near Ta-shih, where Ivanofi's headquarters 
had been a few hours before. This I learned from the 
column commanders themselves after I had been taken in 

213 



The Tragedy of Russia 



their lines. It is such feats as this which make the Japanese 
army of superior metal. If for each soldier to do his duty 
makes the army invincible, as some great generals have 
averred, then the army of the Japanese, which proved itself 
capable of doing its duty, may justly claim to be one of the 
very best. 

By this splendid advance the Japanese gained the plain 
in front of the last Russian intrenchments, and throughout 
that night not a soul slept in the city without the ever-present 
realization that the Japanese were slowly creeping upon the 
defenders. And dawn proved that the defenders had slowly 
fallen back before the encroachment. 

The battle now developing along the east and northeast, 
I proceeded at daylight across the T'ai-tzu and along the 
railway to the north. At 7:30 Kouropatkin's train went 
north and stopped at a way station a third of the distance to 
Yen-t'ai. A long line of battle developed along the east, 
and for perhaps five miles the shells could be seen bursting 
over the crests of the lower hills. Artillery continued to 
move in that direction. The greatest miscellany of travel 
lined the road. Rickshaws carrying personal effects, canteen 
stores, furniture, were interlarded with civilian refugees on 
all sorts and conditions of animals and vehicles. Hospitals 
at all points. 

Toward evening I arrived in front of the battle line. 
Two regiments were retreating as I came up along the rail- 
way leading to the coal mines. At the instant we came under 
sharp rifle-fire, and in the same moment the regiments 
received orders to go back. The Russians, all but beaten, 
had discovered that the army of Kuroki had spent its force 
after three days of fighting without rest, and they quietly 
held their ground until re-enforcements were brought up. 
Fighting continued at this point two days later, but the Rus- 
sians succeeded in making good their retreat to the Hun 

214 



Surrender of the Army Base 



Riven The battle which raged here with great sacrifice and 
desperation on both sides, closed at sundown with the two 
armies occupying virtually the same positions with which they 
had begun the day. 

That night I was lucky enough to be the guest of a trans- 
port officer in the rear of the army, and to my amazement 
he solemnly opened champagne ! Whether it is the devotion 
of the Russian to champagne — champagne for breakfast, 
champagne for lunch, and champagne for dinner — that 
makes him a good retreater, I do not know, but I am con- 
vinced that champagne in any case comes first, let retreat 
come when it may. 

Later in the evening I passed through Yen-t'ai on the 
railway. 

It was now evident that Kuroki's rush for the Russian rear 
had failed. The following morning, September 3d, I again 
turned south to find what was to be the fate of Liao-yang. 
A long line of transport and everything attaching to a great 
army still poured along the several roads leading to Muk- 
den. Parallel to the railway the road was a hundred yards 
wide, and as I approached closer to Liao-yang hundreds of 
coolies were seen engaged in making a graded road as though 
to secure the artillery of the rear-guard a safe retreat in 
case of rain. Where the commander-in-chief's train was 
waiting, a field hospital filled with wounded occupied a large 
space beside the track and was receiving additional wounded 
from the hills on the east and from the kao-liang on the west. 
An officer here told me that Mischenko had reported the 
repulse of Kuroki and his retirement and had recrossed the 
railway with his cavalry and artillery division to take part 
in a big infantry attack now being made. This officer said 
that the war was now to be decided, but I could not make out 
whether he regarded his own people as beaten or the Japa- 
nese. I suppose that his statement was identical in class with 

215 



The Tragedy of Russia 



those many ambiguous remarks which one hears at all times 
among Russians or any other people under the same circum- 
stances. 

I could now see a great smoke arising from the Liao-yang 
settlement, and I knew that the stores which it was impossible 
to remove were being burned, perhaps the settlement itself. 
Three miles north of the city I met an American photogra- 
pher, who told me that he had heard cheering in the kao- 
liang west of the railway, and supposed the Russians were 
making their infantry attack. Liao-yang looked to him like 
a city of the dead, and the zone bordering the T'ai-tzii, 
he said, was under fire. Urging me to take the low road 
next the railway embankment, he rode away. 

The plain bordering the north bank of the T'ai-tzii was 
the theater of a scene such as one never may see except in 
the rear-guard of an army. In this zone of fire, camp- 
followers were lounging about with their spare horses for 
the guns and baggage. Baggage wagons went bounding and 
rattling along half-filled with stores looted from the shops 
in the city and the settlement. As these wagons neared the 
little camps along the road, they whipped up their horses to 
a run to save their cargo from these half-soldiers, half- 
outlaws, not forgetting to throw a few handfuls of lump 
sugar or biscuits to the outlaws as a compromise. Along the 
east, leading north from the T'ai-tzii for a couple of miles, 
the battle sputtered — a line 6i shells bursting along the 
ridges, while in the foreground beside the road there were 
being buried those who were destined to be among the very 
last of the Liao-yang dead. Liao-yang was now the rear of 
Kouropatkin's great army of approximately 180,000 and 
the front of a Japanese army of equal number. But the 
appearance of the place at noon — especially the presence 
still of two large pontoon bridges in the river — reassured me, 
and I went into the city, entering by one of the numerous 

216 



Surrender of the Army Base 



breaches made by the Russian engineers. Just inside it was 
sunny and quiet, and here I met three officers who smiled 
in an uncommon way and bowed extravagantly. But this 
conveyed no idea of the terror along the south wall at the 
same moment. There the rear-guard was streaming through 
the gates under Japanese shell-fire which carried away the 
tower of the main gate, battered the semi-lune walls, and 
struck death and amazement among the Chinese, scores of 
whom began to pour into the native Red Cross refuge and 
into the mission at Dr. Westwater's. A Russian officer hur- 
ried hatless and scared through the streets. 

Where the Russian rear-guard moved in and around the 
walled city, the Japanese kept up a continuous fire all after- 
noon. With the approach of evening and the arrival of the 
maimed and dying in baskets, rude litters, and on foot, at the 
mission, and the soldier-wounded, the night promised to be 
more terrible than ever. Cannonading was heard in the 
north, and at sundown there was a revival all along the battle 
line. The staff of the rear-guard commander declared their 
determination to hold the city until the next day. They 
had lost 11,000 men, but against all odds the city would be 
kept until morning. But, as at other places, this staff reck- 
oned without their host, for at eight o'clock they were driven 
back, the tide of battle was swept north and was but faintly 
heard in the distance, the Japanese were in possession of 
the gates, and I was a prisoner! 

Two reasons were given why the battle of Liao-yang was 
lost. The first is, that Kouropatkin, seeing the blunders of 
his generals, ordered a retreat to prevent calamity; the sec- 
ond, that of the Japanese army there were two divisions 
aside from the main body, and from Kuroki's force, which 
he had not been able to locate, and fearing Kuroki might 
have these, he elected to retreat successfully rather than 
fight and fail. But the real causes of the failure of the 

217 



The Tragedy of Russia 



( rrand Army to win a victory at Liao-yang are due to the 
inferiority of the Russian to the Japanese troops, for it is 
certain that in either situation, as an attacking or a defending 
force, the Japanese would have been successful. The effects 
of four months of defeat and retreat, beginning at Port 
Arthur and in Korea, resulted in a state of demoralization 
which even with the advantages which Kouropatkin had in 
his selected position at Liao-yang, made his task nearly 
hopeless. The losses by death, wounds, sickness and capture 
during the month of July were scarcely replaced by the 
railway, so that there had been no important increase in his 
strength for a whole month, although his whole plan of 
war had been aimed at achieving a powerful increase of 
strength at this vital hour. While in intrenchments, such as 
Kouropatkin had prepared, he should have defeated the 
Japanese with a greatly inferior force; the army itself 
declared that at least twice as many Russians as Japanese 
were necessary for even a moderate success. During the 
first days of the battle numbers of officers were to be met 
in the rear who had flung aside the responsibilities of the 
field and seemed anxious to forget the accumulated disasters 
of the campaign in dissipation. The gayety in the pagoda 
garden did not begin to abate until the army was in its last 
defenses, and up to the time the railway station was shelled 
one could hear the tinkle of Swiss music-boxes and the guffaw 
of American gramophones in the officers' quarters in the 
settlement. And the last trains leaving Liao-yang carried 
away women of the cafes chantant fleeing to Mukden and 
Tieh-ling. 

But it was noticeable at Liao-yang that the army had begun 
to place a more just estimate upon the enemy; and then 
realizing the probability of signal defeat, and after defeat 
was an accomplished fact, they declared that the war had 
not yet begun. They believed that the Japanese would not 

218 



Surrender of the Army Base 



dare to attack them in the plain, yet they admitted that they 
were outmatched in mountain fighting. 

The opposing armies were approximately 180,000 each. 
The would-be authorities on both sides varied as much as a 
hundred thousand in their estimates at the time. The losses 
were about ten per cent, of this. One hundred and five 
thousand rounds of artillery ammunition was expended at 
Liao-yang, which was said to have been more than was 
expended in all the Franco-Prussian War; and furthermore, 
it was said that more ammunition was expended in one day 
than during the whole Russo-Turkish War. Infantry regi- 
ments fired as much as 1,200,000 cartridges during the period 
of the battle. Sixty per cent, of the Russian losses at Liao- 
yang were from artillery fire, thus justifying the designation 
of the contest as an " artillery battle. " 

The story of the Russian Army of Manchuria from P'ing- 
yang in Korea to Mukden is one of falling back, and, looked 
upon in this light, the achievements of General Kouropatkin 
were worthy of consideration and credit. The evidence was 
pretty conclusive that the Russian army had generally been 
bested by an inferior number of Japanese troops. Looking 
at the contest in front of Liao-yang with a desire to appre- 
ciate the efforts of both sides, it appears in some respects to 
have been one of the greatest up to that time. Certainly 
six days of more or less constant artillery dueling over a 
battle-line from ten to twenty-five miles in length, under such 
difficulties of transportation as the Japanese surmounted, 
must stand as an achievement. The results were that Kouro- 
patkin fought a hard and creditable battle and that the 
Japanese, though defeated and disappointed in their aim, 
yet won a glorious victory. 

General Kouropatkin's personal endeavors in the events 
leading up to the battle of Liao-yang were considerable. 
While attending to the smallest details of the army of the 

219 



The Tragedy of Russia 



south, of which he was in personal command, he made stren- 
uous excursions to all parts of the line. When the Japanese 
threatened the great pass from Hsu-ycn, he led forty bat- 
talions to the position as if with the intention to attack, and 
then hurried ninety miles by train and saddle that he might 
appear on Kuroki's front at the Shi River. The disaffection 
among his officers was now considerable, and the incompe- 
tency of the general staff was so conspicuous, and the 
demands made upon him by St. Petersburg and by Alexeieff 
so onerous as to inspire his complaint. The conduct of his 
staff was a recognized scandal, and especially the personal 
conduct of his chief-of-staff, who, with his military duties 
combined matrimony, and against whom it has been a 
reproach from that day, that he married during the battle 
of Liao-yang — a battle planned by the Japanese to be a 
Sedan to the Russian army — a woman with whom he had had 
an intrigue and who was introduced at headquarters contrary 
to military regulations. 

When the battle came Kouropatkin visited the different 
parts of the field, and especially at the close of the battle, he 
appeared east of Yen-t'ai and advanced with a battalion 
to the firing line. It may be supposed that Kouropatkin, 
knowing well the great weaknesses of the officer, and the 
shortcomings of the army organization, regarded as more 
important than anything else, except victory, a protecting 
care of the Grand Army. Though he had arrested the 
advance of Kuroki, he relinquished Liao-yang. For the wel- 
fare of the army he sacrificed a little more of the ambition 
and pride of the promoters of the Eastern Empire, in which 
he appears to have proved himself more of a friend to the 
people than to the government. As all of southern Manchuria 
and Korea was lost to the Eastern Empire, and the Japanese 
were at the outskirts of Mukden, it was evident that the war 
must go on. 

220 



CHAPTER XXI 



THE BATTLEFIELD 



SEVERAL pontoon bridges still spanned the T'ai-tzu 
River at noon on the third of September. For two 
miles the approach was in the field of fire and as I 
crossed the river the Japanese were breaking shrapnel along 
the south wall and their shells were reaching the inside of 
the north wall Some had exploded iri the ya-men of the 
Chinese magistrate. 

The city was in a state of distress in these closing hours 
of the Russian defense. During the night of the third there 
had been a terrifying rifle fire from the trenches in front of 
the south wall, and the breaking of shrapnel which began 
at dawn was resulting in the most pitiful suffering among 
the native Chinese. The hospital of Dr. Westwater, the 
veteran Scotch missionary, was full, and at three o'clock in 
the afternoon the natives began carrying their wounded into 
Dr. Westwater's own compound. They were brought in in 
baskets and on doors, while numbers were still able to be led. 
At the northeast corner of the city, on the banks of the T'ai- 
tzii rested the general in charge of the rear-guard, and the 
staff there was confident that the city would be held until 
the following day. 

Satisfied with these assurances, I remained within the city 
walls to assist in the care of the native wounded. At evening 
the sentries had been removed from the city gates and Liao- 
yang was an outpost. The firing ceased and at dark the 
Russians withdrew. At eleven o'clock the Japanese had 
scouted the west wall and immediately, occupied it, and we 

221 



The Tragedy of Russia 



had hardly finished our work until we were in the Japanese 
lines. 

The forces that took possession of the city were of the 
army of General Nodzu, and at dawn I got my first glimpse 
of the interior of the Japanese lines. When I should have 
been concealed in the kao-liang roads north of the T'ai-tzii, 
the Japanese infantry were marching past the entrance to 
the compound and were in possession of the railway bridge 
by which it might have been possible before midnight to have 
escaped. At that time my mare was quietly munching her 
feed, and I was sleeping soundly. In the heavy fog the 
Japanese troops occupied the T'ai-tzii, and at dawn were 
in touch with the Russian rear-guard half-way to Yen-t'ai. 

After a period of months, a virtual prisoner within our 
own lines because of the anomalous position which a corre- 
spondent occupies, it was a situation of the intensest interest 
to look upon the wonderful Japanese army, whose mysterious 
and insidious operations had forced the Grand Army of the 
Czar to abandon the many miles of its defenses and nearly 
half of the Eastern Empire, to flee its dead and wounded, and 
compelled it to bear a burden of national disgrace and the 
whole world's reproach. My first view was of a company 
marching along under the north wall, which I beheld from the 
vantage of a compound wall, while Dr. Westwater, a resi- 
dent of Liao-yang and a member of the Red Cross, wearing 
the insignia on his left arm, advanced to speak to the cap- 
tain. It was interesting to see the quiet bandy-legged privates 
grasp the stocks of their rifles and then lapse into repose 
while their captain explained to Dr. Westwater that he knew 
precisely who he was and that he lived in the house opposite. 
The officer pointed out this house on the map, directed Dr. 
Westwater to the headquarters of the officer in charge of the 
city and passed on. 

At three o'clock in the afternoon General Nodzu sent 

222 



The Battlefield 



Captain M. Sakabe and Mr. R. K. Kimura with Mr. Mina- 
gawa, an interpreter, to see me and to arrange my passage to 
neutral territory. I was delighted with these gentlemen, 
especially as Captain Sakabe said that they appreciated my 
position as a non-combatant and a neutral, and that while 
they were anxious to possess any information regarding the 
Russian army, they could not ask me to inform against the 
Russians, and they wished it to be perfectly understood that 
I was under no duress to do so. Captain Sakabe explained 
to me the hardships of the Ta-ku-shan Army, which, he said, 
had come by most difficult roads through mud and rain 
from the sea to Kouropatkin's selected position. For a 
long distance it had followed the foothills, where there were 
no roads and no bridges. From the moment they left the 
Bay of Korea until they arrived at Liao-yang they had, he 
said, been lost in a strange region. 

He took a map from his pocket and explained the route 
which they had taken, and I noticed that it was a Russian 
field-map on which the names of all the villages and towns 
were carefully marked in Japanese characters in red ink. 
From him I received an authentic account of the charge of 
a Japanese battalion over the south ridge, which I had three 
days before witnessed from the walls of Liao-yang, and he 
said that by the time it had reached the bottom of the ridge 
it had lost every officer and was taken command of by a 
corporal. In the fighting farther south, he related that they 
had captured in a Russian camp a Russian officer's diary, at 
the contents of which they were astonished. It described a 
scene in an officer's tent where drinking and gambling that 
had been going on through the evening ended in a quarrel, 
in the midst of which one officer abruptly threw down his 
cards, quit the tent with angry looks and did not return. 
This picture of suspended discipline and dissoluteness among 
the Russian officers seemed to strike them as a revelation. 

223 



The Tragedy of Russia 



Taking advantage of parole, kindly allowed by General 
Nodzu, I visited the scene of the battle. The Pagoda 
Garden was so quiet that it appeared to be deserted, but 
after I had passed I discovered that it was in fact crowded 
with Japanese infantry who were lounging in the little grove 
where the restaurant had been, and many of the soldiers had 
perched themselves upon the masonry of the pagoda base. 
They were preparing to eat their midday meal, and were 
so quiet that I had passed within a hundred yards of them 
without suspecting their existence. I saw the body of one of 
our Red Cross wagons that had been abandoned stretched 
across the road, and here and there military relics, testifying 
to the hurried escape from the railway settlement on Sep- 
tember i st. The grain stores that it had been impossible 
to remove, and which, with the sheds that covered them, 
had been fired the day before, were still burning. But out 
of these stores large quantities of oats had been rescued, 
and there was an immense quantity of rice and millet that 
had not been the least damaged. A few railway trucks also 
remained uninjured, together with flour and other stores 
in the shops of the sutlers. For the most part, however, the 
buildings in which these shops were installed had been 
gutted by the flames. 

The buildings of the railway settlement, being a part of 
the railway property, had not been damaged except by the 
shell fire. General Kouropatkin's headquarters remained 
practically the same, with the bunting in the Imperial colors 
still ornamenting the pavilion where his private train had 
stood. In the house occupied by the Grand Duke Boris 
there was an uncommon display of champagne bottles, and 
some Japanese privates had picked up a few of these and 
were standing grinning in the windows. The railway station 
presented a forlorn and desolate appearance. Nearly all the 
windows had been broken by concussion. The platform and 

224 



The Battlefield 



the tracks for hundreds of yards were strewn with ammuni- 
tion boxes and empty shells, among which a few soldiers 
were here and there loitering. A reminder of the rain 
brought down by the last cannonade existed in the little pools 
of quiet water in which these objects were reflected, and to 
accent the low estate to which this Manchurian Trocadero 
had fallen, a squad of dragoons had hitched their horses 
to the window sash and were bivouacking in the station- 
master's room. At the southwest corner of the city wall, 
where one of our batteries had received such a heavy shelling 
on the evening of September ist, were a few Russian bodies 
still unburied. But there were few other evidences of the 
fray in the vicinity of the south wall except the damages 
made by the Japanese shells. One of these had carried away 
nearly the whole of the pagoda over the south gate, and 
three shells had struck just over the main archway. 

When General Nodzu had received instructions from 
Marshal Oyama to deliver me to the American consul- 
general, Mr. H. B. Miller, at Niu-ch'uang in neutral terri- 
tory, I proceeded southward where was to be seen the results 
of the battle along the railway. During the first, second 
and third of September the Japanese, upon whom had fallen 
the responsibility of clearing the battlefield and of burying 
the enemy's dead, had interred most of the dead bodies 
and parts of bodies, but there were a few ghastly figures 
lying blackened in the sun by the roadside. On the slopes 
of Shou-shan, where so many hundreds of Japanese had been 
killed in their repeated attempts to rush the Russian intrench- 
ments, great excavations had been made, and in one place, 
where a whole Japanese company had been annihilated, the 
trunk of a small tree covered with inscriptions testified to 
the human debris enclosed beneath. On these graves were 
empty shells in which were wild flowers which the soldiers 
had gathered. The area for hundreds of yards was strewn 

225 



The Tragedy of Russia 



with caps, leggings, bits of Russian and Japanese clothing 
and accouterments, with bayonet scabbards, cartridge boxes, 
shoes, and other mementos of the combatants. And from 
among the cornflowers, waving in the Indian summer sun- 
shine, and a warm wind from Mongolia, I picked up a piece 
of Russian band music, the title of which I observed was, 
11 The Thunders of Victory." The bodies of two of our 
Russian dead lay near, still unburied. 

It was evident that terrible fighting had taken place along 
the railway embankment skirting the west slope of Shou-shan. 
In places this embankment was four to six feet high, and was 
nearly destroyed by excavations which the Japanese and 
Russian soldiers had dug from time to time during the several 
days of their contest. The track itself was uninjured, and 
while I was going over the silent field the Japanese military 
train came by. It was no less than two Russian railway 
trucks loaded with Japanese wounded, and a few Russian 
prisoners, being propelled by Chinese coolies, who entirely 
surrounded it. Some of them were pulling by ropes and 
others pushing wherever they could get a purchase. 

Although it was now several days since the Russians had 
quit the positions in which they had held their own, some of 
the Japanese artillery contingents who had played a conspicu- 
ous part in the desperate fighting at the end of the battle 
were still resting in their bivouacs. The villages were exceed- 
ingly dirty, battered and desolate. The tall millet was 
dragged down and every path and roadway was lined with 
shelter pits, disguised with green millet stalks gathered in the 
night. The Japanese had never been able to capture any 
Russian locomotives, but they were in possession of a large 
number of freight trucks with which they were able, after 
the battle of Liao-yang, to transport their wounded and 
prisoners to Niu-ch'uang and Dalny. At An-shan-chan and 
Hai-ch'eng we passed trains of ten and fifteen trucks, all 

226 



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The Battlefield 



propelled by Chinese coolies. The railway had been left 
intact throughout the Russian retreat. At this period of the 
war the Japanese advance had not been regarded as serious 
enough to warrant the destruction of the costly bridges with 
which the railway was equipped. After the battle of Liao- 
yang the advance of the Japanese was so serious that all of 
the bridges were destroyed, including the stone piers; but at 
this time the Japanese had everything for the operation of 
the road except locomotives. Unfortunately for them the 
width of the track was of such a gauge that no foreign loco- 
motives could be fitted to it. Until the gauge could be 
changed, therefore, the rolling stock had to be operated 
solely by hand. In this way they were able to transport very 
large quantities of military supplies, which were stored at 
Hai-ch'eng and in transit from that place to the new army 
base at Liao-yang, where Marshal Oyama was moving his 
headquarters. 

At An-shan-chan I passed the night in an empty room, 
where I slept on a Chinese mat. In the same enclosure with 
the building in which I spent the night was a large shed 
used as a kitchen by the soldiers, and in this they cooked 
their rice. I found them dumping it in large quantities from 
the boilers on a long wide table, where it was heaped up like 
snow. I applied to the cook for a bowl of it, tendering a 
piece of their money in payment. The cook returned me 
a heaping bowl, but declined the money. In striking contrast 
to the hospitality and courtesy of this simple soldier was 
the conduct of a dragoon at noon the next day at the Hai- 
ch'eng bridge. I was walking along leading my mare when 
I was ordered out of the way by the dragoon, who was 
riding. As all my outward appearance entitled me to con- 
sideration as an officer, I was considerably surprised. I had 
often heard that such things were done by Japanese civilians 
in the streets of the treaty-ports of Japan. I suppose he 

227 



The Tragedy of Russia 



took me to be a Russian prisoner. It was the only instance 
where I had met with rudeness from the Japanese. 

When we turned from the railway in the direction of the 
Liao River, we came upon bodies of troops moving in from 
Niu-ch'uang to re-enforce the army. They were guarded on 
the north by a brigade of cavalry under Prince Kai-yen, 
brother of the Mikado. The infantrymen were young 
recruits, looking to be seventeen to twenty years of age — 
handsome fellows and possessing all the attractions which 
are seen in the young soldier. I thought I had never seen 
finer and more soldierly looking recruits. During the second 
night out from Liao-yang there was a great rain which 
flooded the entire lower Liao plain and made this line of com- 
munication very difficult for the Japanese. The sunken roads 
were full of water and so deep and treacherous that one of 
the party in crossing was thrown from his horse into the 
water. Along the Imperial road parallel to the railway 
the Japanese commissary employed Chinese wheelbarrows 
to a certain extent in the transportation of army stores, 
but here they had employed Chinese carriers, especially dur- 
ing the rains, because the country was almost completely 
impassable for vehicles. It required several days for my 
baggage to cross this plain of forty miles, and I received it 
several days later at Niu-ch'uang. General Nodzu in dis- 
charging me from the theater of war presented me with a 
box of cigars, a bottle of brandy and a Russian rifle captured 
opposite Shou-shan. The officer in charge of me, Lieutenant 

, paid homage to the greatness of Russia and of her 

people, and with the most agreeable impressions of the 
Japanese officers and of the army itself, I entered the so- 
called neutral zone, between the Liao River and the Great 
Wall. 



228 



CHAPTER XXII 

THE NEUTRAL ZONE 

THE story of the neutral zone between the Liao 
River and the Great Wall, and embracing Mon- 
golia, as it concerns the war, is principally a story 
of the army's infractions of neutral rights, since it was a 
line of communication and supply for it until the Japanese 
occupied the adjoining territory, and whatever use the Japa- 
nese might have made of it afterward lost its importance 
because the war was virtually ended. The story of the 
neutral zone is also largely the story of China's part in the 
war. 

Seeing her inability to participate in this foreign war insti- 
tuted in her territory, China declared neutrality. But no 
attempt was made at enforcing neutrality outside of the 
Great Wall, except in the instance of the Hsin-min-t'un and 
Yin-k'ou railways, where she was glad to delegate to the 
foreign managers the observance of any scruples which as 
Britains they owed to the public or to the belligerents. Mon- 
golia was invaded and a whole caravan of ammunition loaded 
in wool bales on camels and intended for Port Arthur crossed 
from Irkutsk to Kalgan, and arrived outside the walls of 
Peking before it was interfered with by the Chinese Govern- 
ment. An unusual incident occurred west of Kulun in 
Eastern Mongolia, which, if it were not an attempt at frus- 
tration by the Chinese Government, was a providential retri- 
bution visited upon the military trespassers. A long cart 
train of ammunition intended for Port Arthur was this time 
loaded at some point south of the Sungari River and pro- 

229 



The Tragedy of Russia 



ceeded by way of Fa-ku-men with the idea of thus disguising 
its origin and nature and ultimately reaching the Gulf of 
Chih-li in China proper, from where it could be shipped to 
Port Arthur. The ammunition was represented to be silver 
and was guarded by about a score of Cossacks, who were 
seemingly accompanying it out of hostile into neutral terri- 
tory in the interests of native commerce. West of Kulun 
the cart train was attacked by a band of natives and a number 
of the Cossacks were killed. The character of the cargo 
was disclosed by the attack and the raiders retired in disgust. 
The attempt of the Russian military was exposed, and the 
enterprise had to be abandoned. The Chinese carters and 
cart owners conspired with the native officials and demanded 
20,000 silver dollars indemnity, which the Russian military 
promptly paid to hush up the case. It was one of the few 
instances in which the Tartar general at Mukden was master 
of a Russian scandal, and before he effected a settlement 
with the parties concerned, three commissions had to visit 
Mongolia ! 

The Eastern Empire was in possession of the neutral zone 
for four years preceding the war — except six months between 
May, 1903, and the opening of war — at which time their 
military established Cossack posts along the seaboard to 
Kou-pang-tzu and at Hsin-min-t'un, and employed the roads 
and communications for all kinds of traffic, especially tele- 
grams, military supplies for the use of military and civil 
agents, messengers, orderlies, and mails. Many humorous 
incidents were developed on account of the imperfect author- 
ity wielded there by the British, who had ownership in the 
railway, and by the native authorities, and also by the Rus- 
sian and Japanese military during their usurpation. Most 
all kinds of military stores were accepted by the railway, 
and no objection was made so long as the fact was not widely 
advertised. Military were cordially welcomed so long as 

230 



The Neutral Zone 



they kept their uniforms in their portmanteaus, and it was 
only on one occasion — and this must have been out of pure 
mischief — that a Russian officer's baggage was held up and 
confiscated by the Chinese Government through the agency 
of a British train conductor. Great quantities of stores found 
their way through the neutral zone by rail, and reached the 
Russian army bases. This became such an abuse that the 
Chinese Government was forced to make a customs regula- 
tion limiting any one cargo to something like fifteen hundred 
pounds. But in this manner a constant train of cargo for 
the supply of the Russian army moved from the China coast 
to Liao-yang and Mukden. 

The Eastern Empire did not lose the neutral zone until 
the battle of Mukden, and then the army sent photographers 
to photograph crates of chickens and other supplies which 
in turn the Japanese brought in for their use, and made 
sorrowful charges against them to China and to the world. 
During Mischenko's raid a squadron of Cossacks appeared 
at a railway station, in neutral territory, and made a formal 
examination of the freight books to ascertain if the Japanese 
were shipping any cargoes that way, but finding everything 
in order no complaint was made. 

Chinese statesmen explain that they had no sympathy with 
either belligerent, because both were friendly states and they 
themselves would, therefore, apply neutrality to all parts 
of the Empire except to Manchuria. The neutral zone, curi- 
ously enough, was left to the neutrality of the British railroad 
men, and it always seemed to the writer an especial tribute 
to the British spirit of fair play that neither the Russians nor 
the Japanese maintained any serious indictment against these 
railroad men. 

There was an active rivalry between the Japanese and Rus- 
sians for the favor of the Mongolian chiefs and princes. In 
the north and northeast the Russians were nearly supreme. 

231 



The Tragedy of Russia 



There were but one or two Mongolian satraps who were hos- 
tile to them; but in the south, where they especially needed 
the co-operation of the Mongols, to supply beef and horses, 
they met with some antagonism. Among the princes of influ- 
ence was Alatsin, whom, preceding the war, the Japanese 
had entertained at their army maneuvers. He had just 
returned from this royal tour in Japan and had been 
photographed and entertained by the Japanese Legation in 
Peking, when the war broke out, and he proceeded to his 
capital in Mongolia, going by way of Kin-chou and the 
neutral zone. The Eastern Empire had spent years of 
preparation in view of just such arrangements as were re- 
quired to secure large pony beef, and the feed supplies required 
in an emergency like this. But it turned out that in the 
neutral zone and the bordering Mongolian country, which 
was most accessible to their army, they exercised the least 
influence. One of their exasperations was the frequency 
with which Japanese horsemen appeared, overpowered their 
convoys, and drove off their herds. For although the 
Russian foragers surreptitiously commandeered their cattle, 
the Japanese, when they had access to the same country, 
possessed a most surprising intelligence regarding what was 
going on. 

After declaring neutrality and providing for proper action 
south of the Great Wall, China took one sensible precaution. 
She advanced several thousand Chinese troops under General 
Ma from T'ung-chou east of Peking, out on the Jehol road 
to Chao-yang. The Russian military, feeling the reproach 
of their violation of strict neutrality by a semi-occupation in 
neutral territory, then assumed to justify the occupation and 
their violation of Chinese rights, by pretending that General 
Ma was a menace to them. This was such an imputation 
as General Ma had not been honored by since the battle of 
Tien-tsin. As a matter of fact, China's precaution was an 

232 



The Neutral Zone 



intelligent warning against further encroachments by irre- 
sponsible Cossacks upon the neutral zone. Supplementing 
the Chinese troops of General Ma were those guarding the 
railways and the native yamens or public offices, who are 
really gendarmes. At Hsin-min-t'un the local official was a 
so-called general, and had a guard sufficient to patrol the 
vicinity and to convey foreigners in safety to the Russian 
lines at the Liao River several miles distant. A similar Rus- 
sian convoy passed continually backward and forward from 
the Russian lines on the Mukden road. 

It had frequently been asserted that Hsin-min-t'un and 
vicinity was a lawless region infested with bandits and run- 
ning with blood. But in fact it was a quiet industrial native 
community, whose terrible deeds lived in the imaginations 
of its foreign visitors, and it had no elements so disorderly 
and threatening as the Cossack horsemen, who raided the 
streets in disregard of all traffic, and with a show of great 
fierceness. It was the residence of a number of distinguished 
foreigners, had a large telegraph staff, a valuable native 
trade, and was orderly, as its importance as the terminus of 
the railway proved. 

There should, however, be one exception specified, because 
Hsin-min-t'un was the starting point of those sutler caravans 
which brought supplies and foreign stores from the China 
coast to Mukden and Liao-yang. The foreign sutlers were 
not less desperate, lawless and adventurous than native law- 
breakers. One or two of them lost their lives on the upper 
Liao River while en route by native boat to Mukden. They 
were probably believed to be Russian soldiers and were 
attacked by mistake, as it was of rare occurrence that the 
natives of Manchuria had attacked foreigners. Singularly 
enough, the Japanese themselves, after the occupation of 
Niu-ch'uang and the region half way to Hsin-min-t'un, never 
interfered with this traffic in Russian supplies. Even in the 

233 



The Tragedy of Russia 



battle of Mukden, when the Japanese troops advanced and 
cleared the Russians out of the region, they did not molest 
the Russian army sutlers that were passing through. A 
Greek sutler told the writer after the battle of Mukden that 
he had landed in Hsin-min-t'un from Tien-tsin with his cargo 
and found, after he had put it aboard his carts, that he was 
in the Japanese lines. A Japanese officer examined him and 
then gave him a convoy to take him and his goods through 
the line and advised him to hurry on. 

The neutral zone was therefore an open highway to the 
Russians, and whatever of lawlessness and the terror of 
lawlessness belonged to it during the period of the war came 
from hostility between the belligerents and from the lawless 
foreign elements that follow armies. Among the latter were 
two American cowboys, one of whom murdered an innocent 
Chinese and escaped. Among the secret service officers and 
dispatch-bearers was Prince Radziwill, who entered Port 
Arthur during the first and heaviest assault made by Nogi 
during the siege, and escaped bearing messages to General 
Kouropatkin. Although his mission was widely advertised, 
like all other military agents, he was not molested and 
attracted no attention from the Chinese or Japanese authori- 
ties. The Russian intelligence department of the army sent 
agents under the guise of correspondents through these 
peaceable borders, one, a Dane. Many of these persons 
pictured themselves the heroes of great adventures in these 
quiet countrysides, where one might pass days without hear- 
ing a rifle shot and where the inhabitants were singularly 
peaceful and law-abiding. 

Generally speaking, a class of people such as is called the 
scum of the earth, carried on their traffic here and became 
the go-betweens and the secret agents of the Russian intelli- 
gence service in Manchuria and China. Men who could 
qualify as having defrauded everybody else with whom they 

234 



The Neutral Zone 



had come in contact were certain to get employment, and 
almost completely get the confidence of the Russian intelli- 
gence agents. It was astonishing the confidence which 
scoundrels received from them. I have known a man desti- 
tute of every moral quality receive carte blanche from the 
quartermaster general of the Russian army to go and come 
in the lines, and have seen him receive large contracts for 
army stores at the hands of the general staff. I have seen 
him default in the implied obligation, swindle his partners, 
and disappear. The only apparent qualification which the 
man had was his ability to drink, and officers of the general 
staff guarded him for days during his intoxication, in order 
to apprehend a favorable moment when they could confer 
responsibilities upon him. It might be said, from the evi- 
dence apparent to all, that by the army in general and the 
authorities in particular, one who did not drink, and drink 
to excess, was despised as a man and suspected as an enemy. 
And, furthermore, that if he was not a scoundrel he was not 
eligible to any trust. One of the last adventures of the 
secret service of the army was an attempt to transport ammu- 
nition from Mukden to Port Arthur by way of the Hsin- 
min-t'un Railway and the Chih-li coast, and the details of 
which are sufficient to show the truth of these statements. 

As I was returning by way of the neutral zone around 
the Japanese and Russian lines to the Russian base, I met 
on the Mukden road about one hundred carts, apparently 
loaded with silver. It was, in fact, the reorganized Kulun 
expedition on its way to Hsin-min-t'un, where, under the 
guise of silver, about five hundred cases of ammunition were 
to be forwarded, via Taku to Port Arthur. A similar 
attempt by the same route where ammunition had been 
packed in grain bags and forwarded to the Port of Ching- 
wan-tao had failed. It was apprehended by the Chinese and 
confiscated. But this shipment, with other military and Red 

235 



The Tragedy of Russia 



Cross supplies, was loaded upon the Chinese Engineering & 
Mining Co.'s steamer, Fu-p'i)ig, at Taku. The steamer was in 
command of Captain Gray and was successfully cleared from 
Taku by the customs and set sail for Port Arthur. When 
near Port Arthur, it is reported to have stood off for twenty- 
four hours, and was then picked up by the Japanese and 
confiscated. It has been naturally supposed from the cir- 
cumstances that Captain Gray violated his trust, but it 
appears that he made a conscientious effort to perform the 
very honorable and courageous task of running the Japanese 
blockade. The enterprise, in fact, according to the Russians 
themselves, was in charge of a disreputable Frenchman, who 
sold it out to the Japanese for a fixed sum of money. It 
was not the responsible employee, whose agent was of the 
nationality of the enemy's ally, but one of their own allies 
that was traitor to them. The Russian intelligence depart- 
ment received copies of the documents of the transaction. 
They expressed their disgust in these words: " We expected 
to deal with disreputable people, but not to be made to 
sing " (faire de chantage) . 

They seemed to possess the fundamental misconception 
that blockade-running, or any secret and dangerous business, 
required criminals and jail-birds. Having decided that it 
was a desperate undertaking to succor their beleaguered garri- 
son, they seemed to reach the inference that only a disrepu- 
table person would do it, arid they straightway began to 
look about for some rare scoundrel. The idea that a Ger- 
man, or a Briton, or an American, or any other national than 
that of their ally, could honestly and with fidelity run the 
blockade, or serve in their employ during the war, does not 
seem to have occurred to them. The British-controlled rail- 
way accepted and solicited all the cargo it could get for the 
use and assistance of the Russians and took no unnecessary 
and undesirable measures to discover whether it was or was 

236 



The Neutral Zone 



not contraband of war, which was not within its responsibili- 
ties. Being a neutral, John Bull played the part of the honest 
broker, but, like the abstainer, though not despised as a 
man, he was certainly suspected as an enemy and distrusted 
because he was not a scamp. 

The story of the Russian intelligence department and 
secret service in the East is closely related to that of the 
neutral zone, and could easily be expanded to include here 
much interesting history concerning the Eastern Empire. 
The activities of the ex-Russian minister to Korea, Mr. Pav- 
loff, and the energies of General Dessino in Shanghai, and 
Colonel Ogorodnokoff, the commercial and military agents, 
as well as the diplomatic and consular bodies, were involved 
in its interesting enterprises, so many of which failed, and all 
of which reached an unhappy end. Ex-Minister Pavloff, a 
conspicuous figure in the Far East, after his humiliating 
departure from Seoul, had established himself in Shanghai 
and was connected with enterprises for counteracting the 
antagonism and hostile influence of foreigners in China and 
of the Chinese, and with schemes for influencing opinion 
abroad. In connection with these schemes large sums of 
money were spent, and doubtless without result, for the 
fortunes of the Eastern Empire seemed to decline more 
rapidly by reason of them. 

With the falling back of the Russian army the contro- 
versies about the neutral zone were closed. The Japanese 
did not require to make use of it, as had. the Russian military, 
and it was not invaded as by Mischenko until the battle of 
Mukden, and at this time a small Japanese force crossed the 
river and cleared the vicinity of Hsin-min-t'un of the Rus- 
sians there. Having in no way interfered with Russian 
traffic on the railways of the neutral zone, they freely received 
similar cargo and supplies from Hsin-min-t'un and the Liao 
River after their occupation of Mukden. 

237 



The Tragedy of Russia 



In considering the contentions about the violation of the 
neutral zone it must be remembered that it was of little or no 
value to the Japanese, while it was of essential value to the 
Eastern Empire. General Linievitch and General Kouropat- 
kin maintained military surveillance of it and a military 
occupation of a part of it, namely, the barracks of the station 
at Yin-k'ou, a post in Kou-pang-tzii, and the zone between 
Hsin-min-t'un and the Liao River, while they traversed the 
entire eastern and northern half of it. On the other hand, 
the region was not used by the Japanese troops that flanked 
Kouropatkin at Mukden, and was eliminated as a subject of 
contention and disposed of by the Japanese, as were most of 
the questions involved in the war, by disqualifying the Rus- 
sians in the case. 

In the last great battle of the war, that at Mukden, there 
were executed near Hsin-min-t'un, some of those deeds which 
provide the most horrible" aspect of war. Here was enacted 
in the most tragic manner the fate of the unfortunate spy. 
In all armies are men whose business it is to invade the 
enemy's country in disguise. To the Japanese the task was 
comparatively easy, since they closely resembled in all their 
characteristics the natives of Manchuria. But the Russian, 
at the best, was an absurd and frequently a grotesque cari- 
cature of the Manchurian in every respect — in stature, color, 
physiognomy, bearing and speech. The characteristic Rus- 
sian was almost the exact opposite of the black-haired, black- 
eyed Manchurian. He could not eat the native food; he 
could not write the native language; he could not read it; 
he could not speak it sufficiently well; and he could not accept- 
ably assume the native dress. But it must be said in praise 
of the Russian that he had the courage to attempt anything, 
and certainly no better proof is needed of this than that he 
calmly essayed to impersonate the Manchurian. It is related 

238 



The Neutral Zone 



that one of them, captured spying within the Japanese lines, 
was of uncommon size and clumsiness, quite at variance with 
the Manchurian, and with a fair complexion, blue eyes and 
yellow eyebrows and hair. He was brought before General 
Kuroki's staff, and the general himself was so amused at 
his appearance that he burst into a laugh. Instead of order- 
ing him shot, the staff lectured him. They told him that his 
ignorance and absurdity had saved his life, and that he 
would be sent a prisoner to Japan instead of being shot as 
a spy, according to the rules of war, and he received from the 
toes of the shoes of two Japanese soldiers who had him 
in charge a humiliating chastisement, which is never visited 
by disgusted fellow men upon any but the truly elect, and 
was sent off as a prisoner to one of the beautiful temples in 
Japan to think it over. 

Quite at the other extreme was the terrible fate of Rus- 
sian spies, whose execution was witnessed by Mr. Straight, 
a correspondent, on the opposite flank during the battle of 
Mukden. While trial and clemency are outlawed by the 
rules of war when one of the enemy is captured in the lines 
in disguise, the fate of the Russian spies in Chinese costume 
captured near Hsin-min-t'un seemed especially horrible be- 
cause they were taken by enlisted Chinese serving in the 
Japanese army and summarily beheaded during a pause in 
the march. The unfortunate Russians, who in no respect 
resembled Chinese, had not even the satisfaction of receiving 
their quietus from the hands of their chivalrous foe, and the 
very time and energy necessary for the performance of this 
duty was noticeably begrudged them by the scoundrelly and 
cut-throat agents of the Japanese. 

The neutral zone was a no man's land, abandoned by 
both China and the foreign powers to the roving Russian 
Cossacks and their bandit allies gathered from the head- 
waters of the Liao and Nonni, and in most cases taken from 

239 



The 'Tragedy of Russia 



the Chinese prisons after arrangement with the native magis- 
trates, as well as to the same type serving with the Japanc 
The region owed its tranquility solely to the law-abiding and 
peaceable nature of the natives. After the battle of Muk- 
den the contention between the belligerents in regard to the 
neutral zone and the territory of Eastern Mongolia, was 
abandoned, for by this time the persistent occupation of 
neutral territory by the Russian army was so notorious, and 
they had so thoroughly established the precedent, that any 
further mention of the matter on their part only added bitter- 
ness to the almost universal hostility. A post had been from 
the beginning of the war maintained at Fa-ku-men, and when 
the war closed both armies with camps on the Mongolian 
border were scouting far to the west. Both armies drew 
upon Mongolia for supplies, and as late as July, 1905, the 
First Army, then under General Kouropatkin, dispatched a 
thousand troops to Mongolia to bring back cattle. A regi- 
ment of mounted Chinese were gathered from the prisons at 
Petuna, Neng-an-ch'eng, Ta-pa-chia-tzu and other frontier 
towns and stationed at Chang-chia-t'un, where they were sup- 
ported by Cossack artillery and regular cavalry. Their busi- 
ness was to scout the right bank of the western Liao River, 
penetrating far into Mongolia. This garrison was for a 
time commanded by General Stepanoff, and when peace was 
declared was under General Barnaul. It is true that Russia, 
in order to place herself and the Japanese on record before 
the Chinese Government, made a formal protest after the 
battle of Mukden of the occupation of Hsin-min-t'un by the 
Japanese, which was duly combated in a similar manner by 
the Japanese Government. But General Mischenko, who 
was stationed on the Mongolian border to protect the Rus- 
sian right flank and remained there to the end of the war, 
shunned any criticism of the manner in which the Japanese 
observed the neutrality of the border. In fact, necessity, 

240 



The Neutral Zone 



arising from the incompetence of the Mongols in the situ- 
ation, had established certain practices which seemed to be 
essential and were at any rate admitted and practiced by both 
belligerents. The situation, when the Russians established 
their new position after the battle of Mukden, admitted of 
an interesting controversy in regard to the location of the 
Manchurian and Mongolian boundary line. It brought out 
the interesting fact that the region had not been carefully 
mapped by the Russians, and after many weeks the Japanese 
contention, which appears to have been based on the English 
maps, placed the boundary line farther west than the Rus- 
sians had contended, was acquiesced in by the Russian army. 
The controversy was of some importance to the Russian 
army because it necessitated crossing and maintaining com- 
munications across the deep, muddy, treacherous bed of the 
Liao River, and in fact, General Mischenko's artillery had 
to be brought into Mongolia by way of Chang-chia-t'un, 
eighty miles behind his position. 




1>AJ>* 



Russian battle march, " Thunder of Victory," picked up from 
the battlefield of Liao-yang by the author 



24I 



CHAPTER XXIII 

THE ROAD TO MUKDEN 

A FTER the battles of Ta-shih-ch'iao and Liao-yang the 
£-\ location of the Russian frontier garrison at the 
■*- * neutral zone was on the Liao River at the crossing 
of the Hsin-min-t'un-Mukden road, one hundred miles north 
of its first station at Yin-k'ou. Cossack patrols paraded Hsin- 
min-t'un, and lookouts picketed on the roofs of the native 
houses in the vast kao-liang fields could be seen all along the 
road to the River Liao, seven miles beyond. Travelers were 
escorted by Chinese gendarmes supplied by the magistrate 
at Hsin-min-t'un. These were discharged at the river, and 
having crossed by means of native barges, a Cossack escort 
guided the traveler to the Russian post. With me, for a 
companion, was Captain Boyd of the American army, whose 
hospitality I had enjoyed and who had accompanied me from 
Hsin-min-t'un this far on my journey. We were received 
and hospitably entertained for the night by the officers of 
the staff of General Krastilinsky and separated the following 
morning, when Captain Boyd returned to Hsin-min-t'un. 
While we were detained at the Cossack post for the exam- 
ination of our credentials, Captain Boyd observed with some 
astonishment the various appointments of the officers' quar- 
ters in which we were entertained. It was a Chinese house, 
new, and had been rendered unusually comfortable, for 
Manchuria, by commodious beds and luxuries from Mukden 
and Hsin-min-t'un. He remarked the eau de cologne, the 
dressing tables with their manicure and other luxuries, the 
writing tables, the rich clothing of the officers. In fact, this 

242 



The Road to Mukden 



was nothing unusual, but the simplest degree of comfort was, 
in Manchuria, an idea calculated to strike surprise into any 
stranger. 

At the supper-table we heard for the hundredth time, 
from one of the officers, that the war had not begun yet. It 
is around a good board, if ever, that human sympathies are 
awakened, and one touch of nature is potent and complete. 
When the meal was finished, without art or intention of add- 
ing to these sympathetic influences, the Cossack soldiers were 
asked to sing. It may be said of the Russians that they all 
sing, and sing well, and I can say that I have never been 
more touched by song than on that September night on the 
banks of the River Liao, when the Cossack soldiers gathered 
outside the door in the moonlight and rendered in their 
matchless way the melancholy melodies of the Dnieper and 
the Don. When I think of these things I feel my callous 
reason totter, and my sympathies for the moment almost get 
the better of my judgment in the cause which in all its aspects 
was the excuse for their presence in defense of the Eastern 
Empire. It gave me the inspiration for a trend of curious 
and wonderful reflections that, with the bright sunshine of 
the day following, lasted all the way to Mukden. Shortly 
after sun-up I bid the officers good-by and never saw them 
again. 

The Hsin-min-t'un-Mukden road is an immemorial Im- 
perial highway, and was at this time still a busy thorough- 
fare, although the near proximity of the Japanese army 
had already rendered it unsafe. As a matter of fact, traffic 
was not molested here until the following March, although 
Japanese scouts were now crossing and recrossing it, in spite 
of Russian patrols. Toward noon I was held up by an 
infantry patrol, and then passed on. At a Chinese village I 
had a curious experience, illustrating the attitude of the 
natives to foreigners. I had dropped a parcel from my 

243 



The Tragedy of Russia 



baggage, but had not discovered it until I had ridden a 
couple of miles, when I returned, to find no traces of it. In 
the streets of a village where a number of natives were con- 
gregated before a street kitchen, I inquired for the package. 
I discussed the matter elaborately and extensively with them, 
as is necessary with strangers and especially simple country 
folk, and I questioned them closely, but all in vain. " Now," 
said I, " this package has been picked up by some of your 
neighbors, and if one of you will find it and bring it to Mr. 
Fulton, the English missionary in Mukden, I will pay you 
one dollar." The sum was a fabulous one, but it was not 
sufficient to arouse their cupidity. 

" That man," I overheard a number of bystanders 
remark, " is not a Russian. You see he knows Fu Mu- 
shi " (Pastor Fulton). " He is a friend of Pastor Fulton." 
While I was yet only realizing that I had spoken a magic 
word, a man produced the precious package from the kitchen, 
and needless to say, I put an extra burnish on Pastor Fulton's 
reputation by a suitable reward. The farmers had begun 
to gather their crops, which were apparently undamaged by 
the presence of military, and the inns and native shops were 
open and unmolested along the road until near Mukden, 
where the villages were dismantled and completely desolated 
by troops, which seemed to be everywhere. The army in 
its retreat from Liao-yang had fallen entirely back to Muk- 
den. Just east of the P'u River, which at this point runs 
nearly directly south, hardly a blade of grass was left. The 
millet had been all carried away; the land was bare as in 
winter; the trees and buildings were gray with dust; the 
houses of the natives were empty; and all loose wood in the 
shape of windows, doors and implements, had been carried 
off to feed the camp-fires. General Kouropatkin had indeed, 
after arresting Kuroki's progress on the east of Yen-t'ai, 
fallen back to the Hun River! 

244 



CHAPTER XXIV 

MUKDEN, THE ARMY BASE 

MUKDEN was in every way the most important 
native city in the Eastern Empire, unless perhaps 
Seoul. It was and remains the seat of the civil 
and military government of an empire whose system of 
government bureaus is the original from which was modeled 
the government organization for all China. It is a city 
of great wealth and great extent. Seoul was the capital of 
a nominally sovereign, but poor and decrepit state. Mukden 
is the capital of a vast, wealthy and prosperous empire. 
Seoul, as the capital of a peninsula whose control was 
essential to the Russian plan of Eastern Empire, was invested 
by foreign plenipotentiaries, missions, and other investments. 
And Russian utter predominance there must, as a hope of the 
promoters of the Eastern Empire and their political allies, 
have been placed in the remote future, though this was 
doubtless not admitted by them. 

The problem of the Eastern Empire as it manifested itself 
in the Korean capital, was a bitter one. Seoul was the sorest 
spot in the organism. On the other hand, Mukden was suc- 
cessfully closed by China and by the Eastern Empire to all 
the rest of the world. It was the center of Manchurian 
life. Manchuria throbbed with the pulse of Mukden, and 
the hand of the Eastern Empire held the pulse. 

When the tribal states were consolidated, Mukden became 
the capital of this empire which conquered China, where its 
dynasty now rules. Mukden itself, now a city of 200,000 

245 



The Tragedy of Russia 



people, was left with its original administrative organization 
of five government boards in care of a " Tartar general." 
Like Peking, the City of Mukden is surrounded by great walls 
in dimensions approximating those of the Southern City in 
Peking. To the inner and original city is added a monument 
to its wealth and splendor in the form of a secondary city 
planted around it, and it in turn is protected by an extensive 
wall of earth, and without this wall, again, are many tem- 
ples and suburbs, reaching on the south to the sandy bed 
of the Hun, on the west to the Russian railway, while on 
the northwest can be seen the green-purple groves of juniper 
and the liquid-yellow tiled roofs of the Imperial Northern 
Tombs — a prospect of surpassing beauty and wonder. From 
the city wall may be seen the Imperial Eastern Tombs crown- 
ing the foothills seven miles to the east. 

The surrounding country is of uncommon beauty. Be- 
sides the lama dagobas there are to the south and to the west 
tall pagodas, which are landmarks in the region. Between 
the city and the Imperial Northern Tombs was at that time 
a grassy plain where little flocks and herds, tended by native 
shepherd boys, were at all times grazing. Two great roads 
intersected the plain about the city; the Imperial road from 
Hsin-min-t'un, and the Imperial road, running north and 
south, connecting all the great cities in Manchuria. The 
Hun River, whose name signifies " muddy," comes out of 
the hills seven miles to the east a clear and crystal stream. It 
is ascended by a picturesque road, at places cut in the rocks 
at the base of the cliffs beside the river, and crosses numerous 
rich valleys crowded with villages and where its mountain 
tributaries join the main stream. The road to the east passes 
before the entrance to the Imperial Tombs at Fu-ling (seven 
miles from Mukden walls), where the yellow roofs rising 
above the pine groves may be seen for many miles glittering 
in the bright Manchurian sunlight. As the traveler leaves 

246 



Mukden, the Army Base 



this spot a conical mountain rises to view, thirteen miles 
farther on, which informs him that he is approaching the 
ancient walled city of Fu-shun. Pagodas rising above the 
horizon may be seen in the west, in the south, and in the east. 

Thirty miles from Mukden on the east the road enters 
rough hills, where coal crops out on the surface and is in 
places mined by the natives in the middle of the open road, 
and continues beyond the head-waters of the Hun to the 
Yalu. As early as April this road was patrolled by Cos- 
sacks, and was traversed by a telegraph line. The Tartar 
general at the same time kept a patrol of native horsemen 
on this route which supplied him with information concern- 
ing most of the adventures of the Eastern Detachment and 
the advance of the Japanese. These couriers were at the 
same time made use of by the Russians, thus rendering service 
to Alexeieff, who was able to appropriate a co-operation of 
the native administration which could not be refused him, 
and carried dispatches principally between Ying-p'an and 
Mukden. The Tartar general also maintained telegraph 
communication with Mongolia and Chih-li, and it was aston- 
ishing the amount of information which he received by tele- 
graph, by courier, and by secret agent. It was not* always 
agreeable to him, and it was especially inconvenient to receive 
in his yamen, where he was surrounded on all sides by Russian 
spies and soldiers, an autograph Japanese communication, 
which occasionally happened. As early as May he was 
warned by the Japanese that he would be held responsible 
for any assistance which he gave the Russians. 

Mukden, always a great native mart, metropolis and fair, 
was now even more busy because it was the army base. The 
shop, the forge, and the open market were yet more animated 
because of military commerce, and altars blazed with tapers 
that did not blaze before. Many dusty shops and temples 
entered upon their renaissance. Its industrial life was reani- 

247 



The Tragedy of Russia 



mated by the commerce in grain, harness, pack-saddles, and 
every kind of stores usable by the army. 

The Grand Army was at the gates of this Manchurian 
capital, and in a situation so discouraging and so disgraceful 
that the last resource was appealed to. In order to re-enforce 
the army with the greatest speed, the railway was devoted 
to the carrying of troops and the army began to feed upon 
the country, to wear clothing of Chinese manufacture, and 
to employ wherever possible Chinese implements and vehi- 
cles. The manufacture of pack-saddles and gear, fur gar- 
ments and wadded uniforms of cotton, gave the industries 
of the city a new impetus and the streets a new appearance. 

Under the stimulation of this unnatural traffic, the prices 
of some commodities advanced to twelve times their former 
value, and during the winter of occupation the remote regions 
of the Sungari and northeastern Mongolia were drawn upon 
for supplies that exercised no appreciable effect upon high 
prices. Frozen fish, pork, mutton and game, as well as 
grain, was carted from Kirin and Kuan-ch'eng-tzu. It was 
not uncommon for two hundred and fifty carts, drawn by 
nine horses apiece, to arrive in one train. The streets were 
filled with stalls, shops were opened in temples and dwellings, 
and not least interesting was the barter about the city gates, 
the raucous din of armies of crows that inhabited the air, the 
swirl of dust at times enveloping the walls and rising to high 
columns from the streets. r 

But of all the features of this wonderful city, none equaled 
in interest the array of conglomerate and incongruous races 
happening under the aegis of the Eastern Empire. Among 
the normal population were relative numbers of Chinese 
and Manchus, with an element of Mongolian traders and 
priests, and Mongolian and French and Russian ecclesiasti- 
cal envoys, and English, Scotch and Irish missionaries. 
There was a sprinkling of Koreans, and with the Russian 

248 



Mukden, the Army Base 



army came every tribe of Central Asia and Southern Europe, 
with representatives of every important civilized nation, with 
here and there a subdued element of the picturesque in the 
way of an Abyssinian, a Sikh from India, and a negro from 
America. It was a congress of nationalities, and to make 
sure that the Japanese were not too numerous, the military 
police at unequal intervals raided suspected premises and 
pulled all the queues they could find to see if they were real 
or false. 

Native authority was vested in the Tartar general, who 
was both the civil and military power. Russian authority 
was at first divided, Alexeieff, holding the reigns of civil 
power in the Eastern Empire, with a control of the naval 
branch of the military, while Kouropatkin contested with 
him the authority over the land forces. These two digni- 
taries found it impossible to inhabit the same locality, but 
neither of them ever lived in the native city. The Viceroy, 
who lived in the railway settlement, maintained his control 
and management of the Tartar general and the civil and 
military government of Manchuria through a military and 
civil commissare, who dwelt just in front of the Tartar 
general's yamen, and maintained guards, spies and police 
over the native government and throughout the city. There 
was a Russian gilt-domed church and a post-office in the north 
suburb — parts of the machinery of the Eastern Empire. 
Within Mukden walls was the ancient palace of the Man- 
chus — the residence of the Chinese officials — and the govern- 
ment offices. There were no structures or scenes of more 
unusual interest than the Drum Tower and Bell Tower — 
with which the main streets of every Chinese city are pro- 
vided — and the markets and temples. Just outside the earth 
wall on the west was the great cattle and horse market. 
Little more than a mile farther west was the railway and the 
railway settlement, now more busy, perhaps, than was the 

249 



The Tragedy of Russia 



settlement at Liao-yang when it was the army base. Like 
Liao-yang, it was a substantial brick and mortar village 
without any streets, and, being in a flat plain, was all but 
inaccessible during the summer rains except by the railway. 
It began to so much resemble Liao-yang that it was hard to 
remember the differences in its construction. Instead of the 
thirteen-story pagoda of Liao-yang, there was in the rela- 
tively same position at Mukden a dagoba, which is a lama 
monument, or tomb. It belonged to a series of four dagobas 
surrounding Mukden that form a barrier against hostile 
influences. Between this dagoba and the railway a street 
was laid out where the army sutlers built little wooden 
shops, and there were some Chinese houses in which were 
restaurants. 

As at Liao-yang, the station itself was the center of inter- 
est; the trains, the buffet, the telegraphs and the barber shop 
were the center of settlement life. With the arrival of a 
dignitary, such as Prince Khilkoff or General Kouropatkin, 
the Viceroy would, after due formality, pay a visit to the 
dignitary's special car which always stood immediately in 
front of the station. In order to do this, he took a carriage 
at his house about five hundred yards away and accompanied 
by his mounted orderlies and guard would drive up to the 
rear station entrance. Unlike the other houses of the settle- 
ment, the house in which the Viceroy lived was of wood, and 
of the dimensions of a cottage. The Viceroy's ministers and 
deputies at the head of the various bureaus of the Eastern 
Empire were installed in a succession of adjoining buildings, 
around which at a suitable distance was a cordon of guards 
and sentries. The line was to be distinguished by the little 
wooden canopies, at short intervals. The visitor within this 
line was expected to wear uniform and, generally speaking, 
only an officer received the consent of the guards to enter. 
Between this enclosure and the railway track and station 

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Mukden, the Army Base 



was a broken-bottle zone over which a man could pick his 
way, and a horse with care might be taken without cutting 
his feet on the splintered glass — relics of many a wet refresh- 
ment while the trains halted. Flanking the Russian Vice- 
roy's little reserve on the south was his special train drawn 
up on a temporary siding. In it were the offices of the 
government bureaus; and the Viceroy and his ministers and 
staff transacted there such business as was left to them to 
carry on. 

In the rains of June, soon after the Viceroy had established 
himself here, these were the principal objects that attracted 
the attention of the visitor, for they were the center and core 
of a sea of mud, in which, as it dried up in the sun and wind, 
cart animals in trailing cumbersome harness kicked them- 
selves into utter exhaustion and compelled the stalled and 
broken carts to be abandoned. 

Through this scene the military railway trains rolled 
leisurely along, depositing soldiers who camped on the plain 
to the west, and then proceeded on to the front with their 
military cargo. Others hurried to the rear and could be seen 
for several miles after they had left the station, trailing 
along in the valley in front of the Imperial Tombs. 

The railway was a military institution and was now ful- 
filling its whole mission. Commerce had been carried on over 
the line by means of a separate official organization, known 
as the Commercial Department. Through passenger traffic 
and shipping had just begun, only to be demolished by the 
military, for the requirements of the army were even greater 
than the railroad could meet. The Commercial Department 
was abandoned and all of the resources of the railway were 
attached to make a line of communications. Under Prince 
Khilkoff it became remarkably effective, and, in fact, the most 
remarkable railway line of communications that ever existed. 
Its great length rendered it vulnerable to many inimical 

251 



The Tragedy of Russia 



forces. For a distance of 5,000 versts from the Urals to 
Port Arthur, it was subject to accident and partial destruc- 
tion. As a matter of fact it was not interfered with between 
the Urals and Harbin until the war closed, when it was for 
a time in the possession of revolutionists. When war broke 
out a few daring Japanese student patriots made bold at- 
tempts, but never succeeded, by the slight damages which they 
were able to inflict, in disabling it for more than a few hours. 
In the stormy days of February, 1904, an attempt was made 
to blow up the Sungari River bridge at Harbin, but failed. 
As a line of communication for both armies, when the war 
was well on its way, the railway in Central and Southern 
Manchuria was not effectually damaged by either belligerent. 
It was most remarkable as a means of supplying men, stores, 
and munitions of war to the Russian army. When the war 
opened it was not yet in fit condition for the heavy work 
that was to be required of it. In consequence, while the 
army was being mobilized in Manchuria, the re-laying of 
the tracks, the construction of sidings, and the building of 
bridges had to be maintained uninterruptedly. In addition 
to this, a gap in the railway at Lake Baikal, where the trains 
were transferred by steamer from one side of the lake to the 
other, was closed by the construction of a roadbed around 
the south shore of the lake. The connection was made by 
tunneling through rock for a greater part of the way. Dur- 
ing the winter, when the lake was frozen, temporary tracks 
were laid on the ice for trains to cross Lake Baikal. This 
traffic was prolonged so late into spring, on account of mili- 
tary urgency, that the proper precaution was not maintained 
and a locomotive and part of a train disappeared into the 
lake. 

But by summer the tunnel was completed. The Siberian 
and Manchurian railways were single-track railways, over 
which as many as nine trains a day were dispatched from 

252 



Mukden, the Army Base 



Moscow with troops for the Eastern Empire. In order to 
keep these trains moving and to attain any speed it was 
necessary to construct innumerable sidings, where the trains 
moving in opposite directions could pass without delay. 

Before the battle of Mukden the entire line was equipped 
with sidings every four versts of its length. It was believed 
that this railway could never transport to Manchuria and 
maintain there an army of more than 250,000 men. But at 
the close of the war the army in the field numbered about 
400,000. It was, of course, subsisting upon the country, but, 
on the other hand, it had re-enforced the garrison at Vladi- 
vostok. On the whole, it did so much more than was expected 
of it as to entitle Prince Khilkoff to especial honor, and he 
was decorated by his government. The telegraphs also bore 
a great burden of traffic. During the battle of Mukden they 
handled about eight thousand telegrams daily. 

The region between the settlement and the City of Muk- 
den was an undulating plain dotted with hamlets, all of 
which were turned to army uses and gave shelter to bakeries, 
shops, and camps. A clay road, rough and dusty in dry 
weather, and treacherous and forbidding in wet, led back 
from the settlement to the city. Just outside the west gate 
of the mud wall it traversed a depression, where it was over- 
looked by two rusty old p'ai-lows of the Imperial Yellow 
Temple. This temple stands to the north of the road and 
is the center of a cluster of temples shaded by junipers and 
elms in whose leafy calm in summer a cuckoo kept his solitary 
watch and could be seen up to the last days at Mukden, 
when the guns were thundering on the Hun, perched on 
an old ashen bough, where he called perhaps to a mate that 
never came, or to some truant acolyte. 

There were eight or nine temples and a monastery at this 
place. In one of them Dr. Butz had his hospital — and 
some of the other temples later on were requisitioned for 

253 



The Tragedy of Russia 



Red Cross and commissariat uses. There were many visitors 
to the shrine in the Imperial Temple itself, which was dis- 
tinguished from the other temples by its yellow-tiled roof, 
in the same fashion as were the buildings of the Imperial 
Tombs and of the palaces within the city. Here the religious 
ceremonies of the Mongolian lamaists were conducted with- 
out interruption throughout the war. 

In the monastery was an old lama who set aside a house 
in which I was to dwell, where could be heard the droning 
acolytes at their prayers and at their almost interminable 
chants. Between the trees, where the temple roofs rose in 
succession, one above another, could be seen the aureate 
rafters and glittering tiles, and above the trees the lacquered 
flag-staffs with their yellow banners. From this retreat I 
was soon aroused by the blare of trumpets, the screech of 
flageolets, the roll of drums and the tam-tam of cymbals, 
and hurried out to see a long procession wind slowly up to 
one of the temples and pass in through the p'ai-low. A 
trinket was carried past and carefully deposited on the altar 
within. It was a bridal present. The great Tartar general 
and viceroy of the Chinese throne, pushed a little more 
closely to the wall by the Eastern Empire, had taken another 
and a younger wife to console the sorrows of the " six 
unhappy years," which he said had distinguished his incum- 
bency at Mukden, and this was one of the wedding presents 
brought to receive the blessing of the bonze. 

On the right of the road is a large suburb just outside the 
west gate of the mud wall. At this time a squad of Rus- 
sian infantry moved over the unbaked mire, followed by 
a brass band playing a popular American tune, and a 
column of cavalry and infantry with their baggage train, 
moving on through the gate and through the long streets of 
the city with great pride and eclat. Inside the gate the 
street is wide and crooked and lined with shops displaying 

254 



Mukden, the Army Base 



foreign merchandise. For more than a mile it winds along 
until it comes to the semi-lune of the great city wall where 
are the ironworkers, displaying their implements of all 
kinds and making nails, knives, shears, swords and plow- 
shares before the eyes of the spectator. Here the road 
divides to pass around the semi-lune and enter through the 
gate of the main wall to the inner city. In the distance are 
the Drum and Bell towers. Passing one of these one comes 
to a street on the right where are the copper and brass- 
workers, and which leads to the native restaurants, and then 
to the palace walls, beyond which is seen disordered archi- 
tecture, buildings tumbling into ruin, prosperous and also 
disreputable foliage. Skirting around to the north of this 
silent enclosure one passes two or three of the famous " fifty- 
two pools of Mukden. " They are black pest-holes of filth. 
Adjoining it is the Tartar general's yamen and residence. 
The palace is entered from the south. To the west of it 
are the boards of Punishment and War. To the east, on 
the main north and south street, are the Treasury and Civil 
Department boards. In close connection was the office of 
the Imperial telegraphs, and dominating the whole was the 
Eastern Empire's Department of Control, under Alexeieff's 
agent, Commissare K . 

The commissare's residence, just in front of the south 
wall, embraced a storied building, and back of it across the 
street was a Russian military prison, where mutinous soldiers 
and Chinese spies were imprisoned. The streets in the local- 
ity appeared to have a special importance, which was their 
due on account of the numerous stone lions with tusky looks 
that are used by the Chinese to dignify the entrance to official 
places. 

For the rest of the city, it is one great stretch of one- 
storied tile-roofed houses, all looking alike; the streets glit- 
tering with gilded signs and multi-colored merchandise, and 

*55 



The Tragedy of Russia 



filled with traffic by day, abandoned and quiet by night, 
except for the occasional dash of Cossacks. Toward even- 
ing the shopkeepers begin to sweep up the streets in front of 
their doors, as though to erase each day the traces of the 
foreigner and invader. Almost at a given moment business 
closes, the doors are put up — there is a simultaneous great 
clatter of boards — the natives retire into their houses, and all 
is soon quiet. Such was Mukden in the summer of 1904. 




Cossack saddle, bridle, and cartridge belt 



256 



CHAPTER XXV 



THE GRAND ARMY 



MUKDEN reached a high state of excitement with 
the first news of Kouropatkin's defeat at Liao- 
yang, and with the arrival of the advance contin- 
gents of the retreating army, which moved on through the 
city in a northerly direction without a stop. North of Yen- 
t'ai the main body, bearing many of its wounded which the 
railway had not been able to carry, was delayed by the rains. 
Without the necessary provisions for crossing the small but 
deep and angry water courses the columns were delayed for 
hours, and horsemen only were able to cross by swimming 
their horses. The main bodies came to a halt between the 
Hun and the Sha rivers, and finding that the Japanese were 
not moving against them in force they established their out- 
posts so as to cover the whole valley of the Sha. For the 
first time in the war, the hospital accommodations were 
inadequate to the requirements, and the improvised Red 
Cross trains in which the wounded were conveyed to the rear 
in some cases stood for two weeks on the sidings at Harbin 
before they could be evacuated. 

A much stronger impetus was given to the Russian army 
in its retreat from Liao-yang than was commonly supposed 
in the outside world. The main body reached into Mukden, 
and some departments of the army there actually retired to 
Tieh-ling. Many camp-followers moved out and sutlers 
possessing large stores of goods loaded their possessions in 
carts to go to Tieh-ling. 

257 



The Tragedy of Russia 



After the disaster to the fleet just before the battle of 
Liao-yang, Viceroy Alexeieff, who had retired to Vladivos- 
tok, had not returned. The Eastern Empire had now 
reached a state of almost overwhelming misfortune. Alex- 
eieff and his party had seen their commercial, naval and 
political empire vanish. Territorially it was already demol- 
ished, and now that the Russian Government was compelled 
to stand entirely in its stead, the entire machinery built up 
under Alexeieff was being brushed aside. From the moment 
the St. Petersburg Government installed Kouropatkin a con- 
flict of authority was established between the commander- 
in-chief of the Imperial Army and the Government of the 
Eastern Empire. 

In general, the contentions between Alexeieff's Govern- 
ment and the general staff and Kouropatkin, were increased 
by misfortunes rather than diminished. Alexeieff's Govern- 
ment was aligned with the critical element of the bureau- 
cracy that expected military success, while it was well known 
that Kouropatkin deprecated the whole course pursued by the 
Eastern Empire. The national misfortunes had consoli- 
dated the military, the bureaucratic and court parties, and 
with the battle of Liao-yang Alexeieff, still quarreling 
with the inevitable, was shorn of every dignity except title 
and office. The small measure of civil authority which he 
exercised at Mukden while quarreling with the general staff, 
and his superfluous functioris with native authority as a Rus- 
sian viceroy had no longer any status or weight, and with 
Mukden occupied as an army base, and with Kouropatkin's 
arrival at the Hun the whole Government of the Eastern 
Empire vanished. Bag and baggage of the Viceroy and his 
officers of state disappeared from the East, and the people of 
Russia began the serious solution of the unprecedented situ- 
ation into which that Empire and its connections had in- 
volved them. 

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The Grand Army 



It was only at this time that the army itself, which might 
have been considered to be most intelligent upon the subject of 
the war, began to realize its difficulties and to carefully con- 
sider the military resources at its command and the chances 
of success. But at the same time an element had steadily 
developed in the Eastern Empire whose sole consideration 
was the prospect which the nation might have of with- 
drawing and ending the war at any reasonable sacrifice. It 
began to scrutinize the acts of the Government in the 
minutest particulars. It inquired into the formation and 
management of the army; it criticised the management of 
the war; the characters of the commanders; their appoint- 
ments to command; their strategy. It criticised tactics, and 
there was nothing, from the throne itself down to the little 
technicalities of the battlefield that it did not challenge and 
expose. It might be said that this was the awakening of 
Russia to the seriousness of the Government's mistakes and 
blunders. 

The Government simplified the management of the war 
by removing the Viceroy and placing Kouropatkin in a posi- 
tion of eminent authority. General Kouropatkin's situation 
was such as actually to demand this, and the consent of the 
Government gave him confidence to reorganize the Manchu- 
rian Grand Army and to make that now historic aggressive 
movement which was the only general offensive military oper- 
ation against the Japanese on land. The forces collected for 
this movement, which took the name of the battle of the 
Sha-ho, represented in its varied elements all that the Grand 
Army attained to in the whole. These forces, therefore, 
since they represented the Imperial brute power that had 
from the beginning lurked behind the mask of the Eastern 
Empire, and were now fully exposed, seemed to invite the 
critical inspection of the world. 

With the fall of Liao-yang, the first stage of the war was 

259 



The Tragedy of Russia 



ended. The military plan of Russia had failed. The whole 
plan of Eastern defense was demolished. Russia was in the 
air, and the situation was so unfavorable that it called for 
heroic remedy. The desperation of the Russian military may 
be judged from the fact that Kouropatkin resolved to 
advance. After all that had happened the world cannot 
be blamed for receiving this novel idea with amazement, 
but the world may be assured that the army itself received 
it with surprise. It is interesting, therefore, to examine in 
detail the instrument with which this feat was to be 
performed. 

The army as an organized military body had such alien 
elements as only the conglomerate empire from which it 
was drawn and the empires to which it aspired could afford. 
It had a sprinkling of Koreans; some of them were " gen- 
erals," but all of them might with truth be called interpreters 
or guides and spies. 

It was natural that the natives, even in Manchuria, should 
find their way into Russian service. Liberal pay can even per- 
suade the Chinese to engage in military service, though it may 
be said, with more truth of the Chinese than perhaps of any 
other race, that the class who may be persuaded to fight 
other people's battles are attracted more by the rewards of 
blackmail and plunder than by the prospects of honest pay. 
The Chinese in the Russian army took service as an inter- 
preter, in which his operations were practically unlimited 
for illegitimate gain; as a scout, in which service he could 
combine both plunder and blackmail; and as a teamster. As 
an interpreter his service was purely voluntary, but as a 
teamster he had no choice if he owned his own animals and 
cart, for they were generally commandeered, either directly 
or by coercion through the native officials. 

To a certain extent the Chinese horsemen, who were gener- 
ally designated as robbers, were volunteers, but as a rule 

260 



The Grand Army 



they were prisoners under sentence of death, farmed out to 
the Russian military by native magistrates. In organized 
bodies, carrying out their operations, they were often mis- 
taken for Japanese, or for robbers in the employ of the Japan- 
ese, and were killed by soldiers of their own side. They 
were generally in charge of a Russian officer, who was con- 
stantly occupied with the problem of saving his own life from 
the Japanese, from the robbers themselves, and from his 
own people. Near O-mo-so, toward the close of the war, a 
part of a squadron of enlisted Chinese mutinied and besieged 
their commander in a native enclosure where he had camped 
for the night. After a desperate fight he was relieved, but 
had not an unexpected patrol appeared at the proper moment 
he must have been overwhelmed. When the time came, on 
the declaration of peace, to disband these elements, a large 
part of them escaped with their arms and resumed their 
occupation as outlaws. 

The Russian army was pursued by a small army of Rus- 
sian merchants, mostly Jews, whose services were of great 
value, and by an unknown number of speculators who were 
able, by bribery of military officials, to acquire forage and 
stores with which they traded upon the distresses of whoever 
might be the victims of a famine which they had helped to 
create. But as a body their retribution was complete, for 
their hoardings generally either passed into the enemy's 
lines or were destroyed by the army in its retreats. They 
were then without recourse, for while in other countries 
government is liable to indemnities, their despotic system 
outlawed all affairs concerning these adventures. It was not 
strange that the army put forward by a people moving in the 
mediaeval manner in which Russia was approaching the Yel- 
low Sea; in an army invoked by a government of conspirators 
of the Eastern Empire, whose whole enterprise was one of 
overreaching adventure, that the element of romance was the 

'261 



The Tragedy of Russia 



most prominent characteristic. In the ranks of the Grand 
Army were adventurers of nearly every European country. I 
am not aware that there were any Scandinavians or Italians in 
its voluntary military service, but in the initial stages of the war 
Britons were in its employ. Its array of alien soldiers of for- 
tune distinguished it among modern armies. The name of 
Prince Murat conjures up the golden age of military romance 
— the campaigns of Napoleon, the inspiration of this and every 
other army, with which histories the Russians were saturated; 
the name of Prince Jimez, son to the Pretender of the 
Spanish throne, notorious in the present day annals of adven- 
tures of discommoded nobility; Bendiif, of the Bulgarian 
army, an ex-officer of the War Department, and an exile 
from his native land, was a colonel of a regiment of Cossacks 
notorious as that which in 1900 had driven several thousand 
Chinese into the Amur River at Blagovetschensk, where 
they perished either from drowning or from the rifle fire of 
the Cossacks; Lieutenant Bertin, a French Catholic zealot, 
officer in the Arab cavalry of France, was a centurian in the 
Mongol Cossacks and lost his life in a charge upon Japanese 
outposts during Mischenko's raid to Yin-k'ou; all these and 
many others. 

Bertin seemed to have allied himself for religious reasons 
upon the side of Russia. All the great passions — those of 
race, civilization, religion, politics, ambition, and the love of 
adventure, had an element* to represent them. As if this 
aggregation of romantic elements were not complete and 
lacked some distinguishing touch, Emperor William dis- 
patched Prince Leopold of Prussia to be the guest of the 
Manchurian Grand Army at the headquarters of the com- 
mander-in-chief. Military traffic was arrested so that he 
might be conveyed by special train over the Siberian and 
Manchurian railways. The army was deprived of 1,500 
soldiers so that he might visit it. He was interned for 

262 



The Grand Army 



several weeks at Ko-chia-tien, General Linievitch's head- 
quarters, after the battle of Mukden, where he beguiled his 
leisure moments, according to spectators, with pillow-fights 
and champagne parties, and excited the distrust of the army 
regarding his mission. He dispatched voluminous reports 
prepared by his secretaries and carried by couriers to his 
Emperor, arousing the army's suspicions. When the armis- 
tice was declared and open hostilities ceased, he visited the 
front, and upon the eve of demobilization, when peace was 
signed, he retired. 

A picture of the Russian Grand Army in Manchuria would 
not be complete without a description of the Russian corre- 
spondent. For a country without a press, so to speak, Russia 
had an astonishing number of newspaper representatives and 
writers. Among them were to be found some of the distin- 
guished writers of Russia, though their names may not be 
known outside of their native land. But the element most 
conspicuous, however, were the journalistic aspirants, the com- 
bined product of the Government and of the revolutionary 
aspirations of the people. For the most part they were in 
Government service, and it went without saying that they 
bore the bureaucratic approval, else they would not have 
been within the theater of war. According to an observer 
well acquainted with these men, the typical Russian journalist 
was in the first instance a man who donned a military cap, 
which got him saluted by the soldiers. He then put on a 
property sword that wouldn't draw, and if he attained to 
any measure of even temporary prosperity he maintained 
some woman as his mistress. He talked of losing horses 
shot under him, told tragic stories of adventures where 
bullets grazed his horse's nose, and he could, with his mouth, 
exactly imitate all the sounds of battle, from the soft hiss 
of bullets and the ring of shrapnel to the roar and clangor 
and explosion of the heaviest shells. 

263 



The Tragedy of Russia 



Genera] Kouropatkin was about to proclaim the vengeance 
of Muscovy upon Japan, and it was with such an army as 
only Russia through all the history of the world has pos- 
sessed the resources to show that he was about to try to make 
good his threat. The Manchurian Grand Army was so com- 
pletely representative of the races and tribes of Europe and 
Asia as to be incomparable, and it baffles description. As 
its rank and file represented the people of every state and 
bailiwick, and as its leaders were the representatives or 
legatees of nearly every European and Asian military reputa- 
tion, the army as a whole represented every fashion in dress 
and military art since the discovery of gunpowder. 

In firearms its equipment was nearly uniform. There was 
none finer in the world; but in accouterments and dress the 
human elements were assignable to every era of the north 
temperate zone. Between the skin boots, the skin coat, and 
skin hat of the Tungus and Buriat on the Amur, and the 
khaki roundabouts of the German-Russians from the Baltic, 
were included some relic of every article of adornment and 
clothing in the history of man. 

They represented all religions and, while subject to the 
Czar, nearly all forms of government and customs of organ- 
ized society. The Caucasians had not altered their military 
costumes for four hundred years, and the dress of some of 
the men of the Siberian contingents seemed to be only an 
extension of the costumes 6i the Stone Age. 

The armament was uniform because it was supplied by the 
state, but dress was a personal consideration in which the 
heterogeneous elements would not submit to be influenced. 
Russian military regulations defaulted when it came to both 
dress and tactics, and the history of the war shows the mod- 
ernization of the army to have been a failure. There were in 
the end fully 400,000 soldiers in the Eastern Empire, repre- 
senting nearly every military district of both European and 

264 



The Grand Army 



Asian Russia. They differed in speech, and in many cases 
they could not communicate with each other by either written 
or spoken language — native or foreign. It occasionally 
happened that two soldiers of the Czar's army had no means 
of communication, except a few words of Chinese which they 
had learned since arriving in Manchuria. But the army had 
not completed its variety of dress until large quantities of 
Chinese garments had been adopted, and then it was not 
uncommon to hear one Russian ask another, " Are you a 
Chinese?'' During the great battles the common sol- 
diers arrested the officers of neighboring contingents for 
Japanese. 

Appearances were in every respect most striking to the 
Anglo-Saxon. The lower class of Russian was badly dressed, 
especially the soldier. His modern clothes were often less 
becoming than his ancient ones, and generally had nothing 
in common with his anatomy, and seemed to debase rather 
than ennoble him as a man. Perhaps the most picturesque 
and in nearly every way impracticable soldiers of the Grand 
Army were the Caucasians. They resembled those fine, birds 
that are attractive and interesting to behold, but which have 
no general utility and whose existence, therefore, is some- 
thing of a wonder. In a special manner, not applying to the 
army in general, their military career in Manchuria was a 
failure. 

But in appearance off the battlefield, they were everything. 
I remember to have been greatly impressed on several occa- 
sions at the railway station at Mukden by a Caucasian whom 
I saw parading the platform there. His hair was a glossy 
black, and his brown goatskin cap was matched in color by 
his rich red-brown whiskers, faultlessly barbered, and he 
wore a rich home-spun surtout reaching to his spurs of the 
color of the deep wine-red tints of autumn. His hands were 
faultlessly manicured; he wore a handsome Damascened 

265 



The Tragedy of Russia 



sword, poniard, and ornamental cartridges with silver mount- 
ings. He was magnificent, awe-inspiring, and as he swag- 
gered up and down the platform I thought that at least he 
was a colonel of cavalry; he was certainly a prince, and had 
he been ten years older I would readily have assigned him to 
a brigade of Cossacks such as was commanded by Prince 
Orbeliani. He was not even a soldier. I found him, some 
months later, to be the proprietor of a third-rate hotel in 
one of the vilest streets of Harbin, where the worst music 
in all Manchuria was to be heard of an evening, and where, 
when I found him, he was the mediator in a quarrel between 
two of his countrymen, equally well dressed, equally magnifi- 
cent, but between whose ages there was a difference of at least 
thirty years. 

Their military appearance when on parade possessed a 
kind of splendor which we perceive among barbarians. 
Their standards were brilliant and gorgeous. They em- 
ployed every brilliant color of raiment, and they moved with 
a picturesque ease and swagger. They w r ere the most con- 
spicuous Oriental element in the w T hole army. 

As soldiers the Caucasian Cossacks were pernicious, but 
could hardly be said to be dangerous. According to the 
other elements of the army, they excelled in barbarities. 
More than any other element they got a bad name for rob- 
bery and for murder. The army charged them with many 
outrages against the laws of civilized warfare, and it was 
asserted that owing to their murder of the Japanese wounded 
and prisoners and the robbing of the wounded and dead, 
that the Japanese were compelled to wage a war of extermi- 
nation against them, and that they changed their garb to that 
of the regular Cossacks to elude this vengeance. General 
Kouropatkin in his Orders of the Day repeatedly admonished 
the army to observe humanity in its treatment of Japanese 
killed and wounded, and it was understood that these admo- 

266 



The Grand A?~my 



nitions were inspired by the barbarities of the Caucasians. 
In his appeal to the army he cited the humane practices of 
the enemy. 

The Caucasian Cossacks frequently threatened mutiny. 
One whole squadron mutinied and refused to fight. They 
gave as a reason that they could not see the enemy, and 
they would not fight bullets that fell out of the sky. The 
leaders were sentenced to death, the squadron was disbanded 
and it was intended to send the men in a body to their homes 
in disgrace, but General Kouropatkin is said to have sus- 
pended the execution of the leaders and to have distributed 
the squadron among the other troops, placing them where 
they would always be in the front. Their apprehension of 
the dangers of firearms in the hands of the enemy deserves 
attention. Although the long-range, rapid-fire rifle has revo- 
lutionized warfare, it is not in strictly recent times that this 
has taken place, and it is doubtful if in any other civilized 
country of the world there is to be found a body of soldiers 
going into battle without knowing the existence of, and 
counting the cost of ignoring, the hidden foe. 

The cavalry branch of the army was almost wholly Cos- 
sacks. There was a dragoon regiment and a few hussars, 
but the whole cavalry arm were virtually mounted peasants, 
and except for their ability to ride, were possessed of no 
special cavalry qualifications. As couriers they were excel- 
lent, but as scouts they showed no superiority to the mounted 
infantry, and throughout the whole course of the war never 
executed any important cavalry operations. The artillery 
may be said to have been a special branch of the army, and 
the war, since it surpassed all other wars in artillery fighting, 
could properly be called an artillery war. As for the infantry, 
it may be said, like the cavalry, to have been an assemblage 
of unintelligent peasants, more or less trained in an obso- 
lete mediaeval system of warfare, who never executed any 

267 



The Tragedy of Russia 



successful movements against the enemy, but who supple- 
mented the work of the artillery by remaining in their line 
of defense. 

The artillery branch of the army deserves especial notice. 
It was equipped with the standard field-gun, which was supe- 
rior in rapidity of fire and in range to the Arasaka gun, 
which was the standard field-piece of the Japanese army. In 
the whole matter of field artillery the Japanese were at a 
disadvantage. At the beginning of the war their " shimose ' 
shell had a high moral value, but this was lost when the 
Russian army discovered that its power of execution was 
confined to the immediate spot where it struck and the 
demoralizing effect of the great noise which it made was 
diminished. Owing to the recoil of the Russian field-gun 
the rapidity of fire was diminished, while the natural clumsi- 
ness of the Russian operated to make his weapon less 
effective. But it was capable of great accuracy at a range of 
two to three miles, while the Japanese were obliged to bring 
their field-piece within two miles or less to obtain an equal 
degree of execution. 

There was but one battle north of Nan-shan w T here the 
Japanese had any field-pieces of superior power. In the 
battle of Mukden their Port Arthur siege guns excelled in 
power, but not in range, the siege guns of the Russians, but 
were absurdly inferior in numbers. The standard field-gun 
of the artillery was supplemented by mountain guns and by 
howitzers and mortars, and in the last great battle of the 
war siege guns, of which the Russians had the old-style short, 
six-inch, high carriage gun, and later added a long five-inch 
gun with a range of from eight to eleven versts. They 
obtained also a few new field-guns with a shield, and an 
improved mountain gun superior to any they had previously 
employed. Their artillery was not excelled by the artillery 
equipment of any army, and under certain of their com- 

268 



The Grand Army 



manders reached a state of efficiency creditable to the Russian 
military. 

The method of the Russian artillery was interesting. It 
followed the doctrine laid down after the Crimean and 
Russo-Turkish wars. " The enemy is destroyed," said the 
officers, " by projectiles en masse, covering all the enemy's 
zone." From the first the Japanese doctrine seemed to be 
to fire at a special target, at which they had been surpris- 
ingly successful, even from the very first battles at Ch-iu-lien- 
ch'eng and Wa-fang-tien, where Russian batteries were 
silenced in intervals of a few minutes. The Russians, on the 
contrary, fired great quantities of projectiles, maintaining 
direction and range, but generally devoting themselves to 
some zone and. firing away at it until ordered to cease. 

Unlike the cavalry and infantry branches of the army, 
the artillery was not chargeable with any essential military 
defect. But it happened that on account of the defects in 
their ammunition, that the artillerists wrought much havoc 
among their own soldiers. A certain percentage of the stand- 
ard field-gun ammunition exploded prematurely after leaving 
the gun, working havoc among and demoralizing the infantry 
and other troops in front, over which the artillery was firing. 
At the battle about to be described the shells of one battery 
exploded in another battery, killing and wounding some of 
the men and creating the impression in the unfortunate 
battery that it was being fired on by its own artillery. 

Of the various members of an army the infantry branch 
is most numerous and, therefore, most important. On the 
battlefield of Mukden, Kouropatkin reiterated the imme- 
morial tribute to the infantry. He told them that it was 
upon them that the nation relied for victory. In the annals 
of the infantry is written the history of wars and the progress 
of nations. The peculiar quality of the Russian infantry, 
as so often expressed, was its power in defense. The Rus- 

269 



The Tragedy of Russia 



sian infantryman had in a commendable degree the ability 
to resist, while it was a phenomena of his character, though 
a very doubtful military virtue, that when it became neces- 
sary to give up his position he retired doggedly. 

The history of the war shows the Russians to have been 
incompetent in the offensive, and it seems to have been a 
principle guiding Kouropatkin that the safety of his soldiers 
lay in their remaining in their field-works. The fact that he 
distrusted his commanders outside of the positions seems 
conclusively shown in the fight at Yen-t'ai mines, in the 
battle of San-chia-p'u and the battle of Mukden. His dis- 
trust seems to be justified by the great losses sustained by all 
branches of the army when they attempted the initiative. 
Many circumstantial reports testified to the incompetency 
of the infantry in maneuver. They lost contact with the 
rest of the line and fired upon each other, and in the crises 
of some of their battles they have assigned this as one of 
the causes of their defeat. 

One of the differences between the Japanese and Russian 
troops was the ability to maneuver. The Japanese could 
be seen to advance in order, closing up gaps in their line and 
invading the enemy's field. When attacked they were alert 
and expectant, promptly took cover and prepared to receive 
the enemy. On the contrary, Russian troops generally lost 
confidence when the attack began, were slow to detect the 
enemy, and as a rule withdrew according to their peculiar 
military reasoning, refusing to be hurried, and losing large 
numbers by their doggedness. Instead of activity they 
seemed to be always waiting for other troops to come up, 
and when they fell back it was to rendezvous and herd with 
other troops in exposed places. 

In an army with a peasant or serf at the bottom, and a 
bureaucrat or noble at the top, there was of course the widest 
range of intelligence. An army is essentially but an organ- 

270 



The Grand Army 



ized rnob. There was the greatest difference among recruits. 
The Poles were highly intelligent, but they were not depend- 
able. Many of them were revolutionists. They refused in 
some cases to fire on the Japanese, and instead fired in the 
air, and when convenient to do so many of them passed into 
the Japanese lines and became willing prisoners. They 
regarded themselves as victims of the Government, and being 
opposed to war as a people and to the extension of the con- 
spiracies of the bureaucracy they evaded military service by 
the only course possible to them. 

The Siberian common soldier was unlettered, undisci- 
plined, hardly less intelligent and, for a Russian, an excellent 
fighter. The peasant soldier from Little Russia was less 
intelligent than the Pole, but may be taken as the example 
of the docile, reliable Russian soldier. The people of the 
Caucasus, boasting of their nationality, constituted the unruly 
element. The foreigners, such as the Finns, serving in the 
Russian army, were like those prisoners of old, condemned to 
service in galleys. They were prisoners and their service was 
extorted. They were a part of the revolutionary element, 
which was large and included among its sympathizers many 
persons of rank and even nobles. In fact, this element taken 
as an unknown quantity, if the whole truth were known, 
might largely account for General Kouropatkin's distrust 
of the army and his fear of maneuvering it on the battlefield. 

It ought to be mentioned that Siberians, though discredited 
as undisciplined by the regular army, were about the best 
fighting men. Their interest in the war was a greater and 
more intelligent one than the interest of any other element 
of the army. Many of them had seen service in Manchuria 
and Chih-li in 1900, and the campaign — which to the Euro- 
pean Russians had no reason of being — had to them a 
certain meaning. They knew that in certain ways its success 
or failure affected Siberia, and they knew what the idea of 

271 



The Tragedy of Russia 



the Eastern Empire was. Many of them were revolutionists, 
but they looked to the prosperity of the Eastern Empire to 
cure their ills. The propaganda of the government press, 
appealing to the cupidity of Russians as a means of saving 
their seizAire of Manchuria, was not necessary to the Siberians. 
They were looking forward to an escape by the Pacific from 
the despotism of the Baltic. 

The Jews were a conspicuous and unnatural element in 
the Manchurian Grand Army. They were the objects of 
general contumely and the victims of a national prejudice. 
They were not as a rule to be found among military officers, 
but as physicians they served in the Red Cross, and were 
impressed as common soldiers into the ranks. 

I do not know of any cases of cowardice on the part of 
Jews in the army. I have seen them behave with marked 
coolness and presence of mind in great danger. As a sol- 
dier, his conduct in the mind of the writer is exactly illus- 
trated by the following stories: In the fighting south of Liao- 
yang General Alexeieff, while passing from one part of the 
battlefield to the other, met four men who had turned their 
shelter tent into a litter and, with their rifles locked, accord- 
ing to the method in the Russian army for making a litter, were 
carrying a comrade, who, to all appearances, was wounded. 
One glance at the men showed the general that they were 
all Jews, so he inquired: " Where is that man wounded? ' 
There was no response to this inquiry, so the general ordered 
the litter put down. When he did so the man crawled out 
and proved as sound as the other four. They had con- 
spired to escape duty, but the general could only send them 
back where they were badly needed. In the Eastern 
Detachment, when General Keller was visiting his left flank, 
he saw several Jews come out of the kao-liang. He stopped 
and inquired of them, "What are you doing in there?' 
" We live in the kao-liang, High-born one," they replied. 

272 



The Grand Army 



" And why do you live in there? " asked the general. 

" Because, High-born one, you are on one side of us and 
General Rennencamp is on the other, so there is no danger ! " 

A great deal might be written on the genius of the Baltic 
provinces in the war. The German-Russians were the meth- 
odists of the army, and they furnished most of the technical 
knowledge used in the construction of their defense positions. 
Many of their best engineers were German-Russians, and the 
names of Stackelberg, Grippenberg, Kaulbars, Rennencamp, 
Gerngrosz, Meyendorf, and Bilderling, readily testified to 
the German-Russian influence. 

In a scheme of government so vast and unwieldy as the 
Russian it was natural to expect a formidable element of the 
incongruous. The army was constantly pointing out that 
this and that general was not a real general, but merely a 
" school " general, and would name over their real generals, 
thus: Mischenko, Zarubaieff, Rennencamp, Zerpitsky, 
Danieloff, Muhlofl, etc. Some seemed more like chiefs or 
sachems than like generals. This was true of Mischenko. 
Men like Rennencamp and Mischenko were bon chefs par 
excellence. 

By autumn there were nearly one hundred and fifty 
generals in the theater of war, which was a number greatly 
in excess of the requirements. But there were among the 
officers, as is to be found in all military systems, many whose 
rank was entirely formulary. They were not soldiers, 
though many of them retained the impression until the very 
close of the war that they were about to receive a company 
or a regiment or a division, as the case might be. Privileged 
persons swarmed about the army base with their hangers-on 
and understrappers, and the impression which they created 
was that of the immense and unwieldy machinery that 
belongs to such a government. They posed as advisers and 
helpers and regarded themselves as entitled to confidence and 

273 



The Tragedy of Russia 



credit as patriots. Some of them, though their economic 
value to the army might be questioned, yet rendered certain 

services in their peculiar way. Among them was R , 

of the Czar's Equerry, who equipped a Red Cross contingent 
and maintained it under his own direction in the field. He 
received the complimentary title of " general." He had 
himself photographed in the following manner: He first 
drew up his small outfit of horses and litters, making a 
suitable background display. He then posed a prostrate 
soldier in the foreground. He was now ready to add the 
principal elements. He himself kneeled in a tragic manner 
on one knee and with his left hand placed over the reclining 
soldier's heart, he supported in his right a Red Cross stand- 
ard, while at his side stood an attendant with a bottle. A 
photograph made of this scene was printed in one of the 
principal Russian illustrated papers. 

Among other aids to woo military success offered by enthu- 
siasts were the field balloons. There seemed to be quite a 
contagion among patriots to help the army to get sight of 
the enemy. Little balloons and big balloons were exhibited 
near the railway station at Mukden to advertise the enter- 
prise, and they contributed to the edification of an immense 
international population. A telescope was brought which 
" would reveal a man on horseback eighteen miles away, 
and a flagstaff twenty-two miles distant." One may easily 
fancy some kind-hearted and well-meaning patriot, his honest 
head buzzing with his benevolent idea, catching up in his 
proud frenzy one of these amusing and serviceable scientific 
machines of many diameters, and conquering the wild 
Siberian plains and the officials, hastening by rail and land- 
ing flushed, modest, confident and a little short of wind, at 
the very front, to exclaim with generous humility, " There, 
Mr. Kouropatkin, look through that." 

Something of what the responsibilities of a commander-in- 

274 



The Grand Army 



chief are may be understood by an appreciation of such an 
array of diverse and often antagonistic elements. In Man- 
churia they constituted a vast and bewildering scene which, 
to show that it was the handiwork of frail man, needed only 
the ecclesiastical element. Pervading all and hardly less 
picturesque than the Caucasian contingent was the Army of 
the Church. The priests were dressed in plain cassocks, wore 
their hair long, and in their various ornaments and insignia 
seemed to represent in a greater degree than did the military 
the mystery and power of their great potentate. Greater 
than the glamour of the military was the religious and eccle- 
siastical machinery with which the orthodox church minis- 
tered to the army. In it, more than in the congregated 
thousands of accoutered men, was embodied Russia. The 
Eastern Empire, failing in its own strength, invoked its aid. 
Russia, failing in her own strength, invoked its aid. The 
army made way for it. Its shrines and banners were planted 
on the positions. Its holy emblems were carried to the firing 
line. The line opened to receive them. The sacred relics 
of the mother churches at Moscow and other ancient cities 
in Russia were assembled to carry God into the battlefield and 
to carry His vengeance to the enemy. The militant priest- 
hood mounted horses and escorted the Cossacks to their 
raids. On one occasion such an expedition halted at intervals 
in its march around the flank of the enemy to hold religious 
services. Four times in its advance the column halted, and 
the priests, loaded with their insignia of religious office, 
carried sacred ikons along the lines for the soldiers to kiss. 
In the desperation of the situation before Mukden, the 
commander-in-chief carried out conscientiously the onerous 
official programme of devotion, provided by the Govern- 
ment and entailed upon officials. In every camp were its 
altars. On every grave its emblems. At dawn could be 
heard the morning mass; at the eating hour the chant around 

275 



The Tragedy of Russia 



the common board; at dusk the evening hymn, which, heard 
from every direction of the battle-ground, was like a chorus 
from some great invisible choir. 

This was the army of the offensive. It was such an army 
that was to be the aggressor. 



c 



276 



CHAPTER XXVI 

THE BATTLE OF THE SHA-HO 

THE region east and west at the Sha River, in which 
the Russian army found itself after the battle of 
Liao-yang, was not unlike that of every position at 
which it had fought since leaving K'ai-chou. The railway 
still formed the center and followed the line dividing the hill 
country on the east from the great plain leading off to the 
west. The trend of streams rising in the eastern moun- 
tains was still to the west. As at the Liao-yang position 
there was a nest of mountains on the extreme east, with a 
" Ta-ling " or Great Pass barring the road to the army base. 
Kouropatkin divided the forces into two main armies. 
General Stackelberg was given command of the Eastern 
Army, which was comprised of Rennencamp's division, and 
the First, Second, and third Army corps, and General 
Samsonoff's small cavalry division. General Mischenko, 
with a mixed force such as he had from the beginning com- 
manded, guarded a gap in the line in the foothills between 
the Eastern Army and the Fourth Corps, which was directly 
under Kouropatkin's control at a point on the Sha River 
called Er-ta-kou, and which was to become famous along 
with Pootiloff and Novogorod in the battle of Mukden. It 
was distinguished by a pagoda which was a landmark visible 
for forty miles. The hill upon which it stood was not so 
high as the famous Shou-shan at Liao-yang, but from it was 
clearly visible the whole position of the Japanese army in 
the plain, the station of Yen-t'ai, the City of Liao-yang with 
its famous pagoda, and Shou-shan behind. It was clearly 

277 



The Tragedy of Russia 



to be seen why Kouropatkin selected this point of observa- 
tion and vantage, from where he in person directed the 
Fourth Corps. With the outposts along the Sha, the Fourth 
Corps rested behind the hill Kuan-shan four versts to the 
rear. Then came the Western Army under General Bilder- 
ling. First was the Tenth Corps, commanded by General 
Sluchevsky, which lay across the Yalu or Imperial road con- 
necting with the Seventeenth Corps (General Bilderling's 
own corps) at the railway. After the battle opened, the 
Sixth Corps, which had just arrived, was moved down to 
support the Seventeenth on its right, displacing the Fifth 
Corps, which was moved a little farther to the right and to 
the rear and held in reserve. General Kossakovsky with a 
mixed cavalry force guarded the right flank. 

In all there were eight army corps and Rennencamp's 
and Kossakovsky's cavalry detachments or divisions. 

In strength the Grand Army was not inferior when the 
battle of the Sha River opened to its strength at Liao-yang. 
Kouropatkin had evidently planned his famous advance 
policy to take effect when he should have recovered his 
original military strength. It marked the beginning of the 
second stage of the war and showed clearly the change of 
feeling which the defeat at Liao-yang had brought about in 
Russia. The defensive was to be abandoned. Kouropatkin 
was under pressure to act quickly. His bold attempt to 
recover his military equilibrium was that of a commander 
who apparently feels himself obliged to prove that his plan 
of war has not in reality defaulted and that his opportunity 
has not entirely escaped him. He had now had five weeks 
in which to re-enforce his army from Europe. It was the 
most powerful Russian force that had ever appeared east 
of the Urals. Though it cannot be said to have given him 
any great confidence on account of its strength, he was at 
any rate inspired by the desperation of his situation, which 

278 



r 



The Battle of the Sha-ho 



had almost reached a state of disgrace. In these circum- 
stances he issued the following proclamation, which seems 
to indicate that he regarded the destiny of the Eastern 
Empire as still within the control of the Imperial Grand 
Army: 

" More than seven months ago the enemy treacherously fell upon 
us at Port Arthur before war had been declared. Since then by land 
and sea the Russian troops have performed many heroic deeds of 
which the Fatherland may be justly proud. The enemy, however, 
is not only not overthrown, but in his arrogance continues to dream 
of complete victory. The troops of the Manchurian army, in unvary- 
ing good spirits, have hitherto not been numerically strong enough 
to defeat the Japanese army. Much time is necessary for overcoming 
all difficulties and strengthening the active army so as to enable it to 
accomplish with complete success the arduous but honorable task 
imposed upon it. It is for this reason that, in spite of the repeated 
repulse of the attacks of the Japanese upon our positions at Ta-shih- 
ch'iao, Lian-dian-san (Liang-chi-shan?), and Liao-yang, I did not 
consider the time to have arrived to take advantage of these suc- 
cesses to begin a forward movement and I, therefore, gave the order 
to retreat. You left the positions you so heroically defended, covered 
with piles of the enemy's dead, without allowing yourselves to be 
disturbed by the foe, and in preparedness for a fresh fight, after five 
days' battle at Liao-yang, you retired on the new positions previously 
prepared. 

" After successfully defending all advanced and main positions you 
withdrew to Mukden under the most difficult conditions. Attacked 
by General Kuroki's army, you marched through almost impassable 
mud, fighting throughout the day and extricating the guns and carts 
with your hands at night, and returned to Mukden without abandon- 
ing a single gun, prisoner, or wounded man, and with the baggage 
train entirely intact. I ordered the retreat with a sorrowful heart, 
but with unshaken confidence that it was necessary in order to gain 
a complete and decisive victory over the enemy when the time came. 
The Emperor has assigned for the conflict with Japan forces sufficient 
to assure us victory. All the difficulties of transporting these forces 

279 



The Tragedy of Russia 



over a distance of 10,000 versts (6,666 miles) are being overcome in 
a spirit of self-sacrifice, and with indomitable energy and skill by 
Russian men of every branch and rank of service, and every social 
position to whom has been entrusted this work, which for difficulty 
is unprecedented in the history of warfare. In the course of seven 
months hundreds of thousands of men, tens of thousands of horses 
and carts, and millions of poods of stores have been coming uninter- 
ruptedly by rail from European Russia and Siberia to Manchuria. 
If the regiments which have already been sent out prove to be insuffi- 
cient, fresh troops will arrive, for the inflexible wish of the Emperor 
that we should vanquish the foe will be inflexibly fulfilled. 

" Hitherto the enemy in operating has relied on his great forces 
and, disposing his armies so as to surround us, has chosen as he deemed 
fit his time for attack; but now the moment to go and meet the 
enemy, for which the whole army has been longing, has come, and 
the time has arrived for us to compel the Japanese to do our will, for 
the forces of the Manchurian army are strong enough to begin the 
forward movement. Nevertheless you must unceasingly be mindful 
of the victory to be gained over our strong and gallant foe. In addi- 
tion to numerical strength, in all commands, from the lowest to the 
highest, a firm determination must prevail to gain the victory, what- 
ever be the sacrifices necessary to this end. Bear in mind the impor- 
tance of victory to Russia, and, above all, remember how necessary 
victory is the more speedily to relieve our brothers at Port Arthur, 
who for seven months have heroically maintained the defence of the 
fortress entrusted to their care. 

" Our army, strong in its union with the Tsar and all Russia, 
performed great deeds of heroism for the Fatherland in all our wars, 
and gained for itself well-merited renown amongst all nations. 
Think at every hour of the defence of Russia's dignity and rights in 
the Far East, which has been entrusted to you by the wish of the 
Emperor. Think at every hour that to you the defence of the honor 
and fame of the whole Russian army has been confided. The illus- 
trious head of the Russian land, together with the whole of Russia, 
prays for you and blesses you for your heroic deeds. Strengthened 
by this prayer and imbued with the consciousness of the importance 

280 



The Battle of the Sha-ho 



of the task that has fallen to us, we must go forward fearlessly with 
a firm determination to do our duty to the end without sparing our 
lives. The will of God be with us all ! " 

The army now began to advance, not yet from the Sha-ho, 
because there were troops occupying the hills on the north 
bank of the Hun River, twenty miles in the rear, that had 
to be brought up. These were the First Siberian Corps at 
Fu-ling and the Third Siberian Corps at Fu-shun, with a 
force also at Ying-p'an. 

The Japanese had established their position on a line run- 
ning nearly east and west about half-way between Yen-t'ai 
and the Sha River. It was in fact exactly parallel to the 
branch railway connecting Yen-t'ai with the Yen-t'ai mines. 
The order of their forces remained the same as at Liao-yang; 
Kuroki was on the east, Oku on the west, and Nodzu in the 
center. As the Russian army advanced the Japanese fell 
back in the direction of this position. General Samsonoff, 
with cavalry, made a reconnoissance in force on the left of 
the Eastern Army, fighting with the Japanese advance posts 
during the day and night of the twenty-ninth of September, 
when he retired. 

On October ist the Russian military appropriated the 
Imperial Chinese telegraph and telephone line to Hsin-min- 
t'un to prevent messages reaching the border, and for the 
use of the army. 

Although the Russian troops from the Hun began moving 
on the fourth of October, and reached the Sha-ho line of 
defense on the sixth, the armies did not come into battle 
until the ninth. The Eastern Army moved south through 
the mountains; the main body, composed of the First, Third 
and Second corps, crossed the upper part of the Sha River 
and moved in the direction of Pen-shi-hu. The Second 
Army, making a simultaneous advance, had not reached so 

281 



The Tragedy of Russia 



far south, when, on the tenth the battle was well under way, 
and the Japanese were virtually in their defenses. 

As waged by the Russians, this battle may be divided into 
three parts: First, the battle of the main body of the Western 
Army in the vicinity of Tou-san-p'u west of the railway, 
where the equivalent of two regiments were lost, virtually 
deciding the issue of the battle; second, the battle of the 
main body of the Eastern Army, fought against an impregna- 
ble position in the mountains where the Japanese held, with 
a relatively small force, three-fourths of the Eastern Army 
while they defeated the Western Army in the plain; and 
third, the artillery battle on the railway and the Yalu or 
Imperial road east of and near to the railway. 

Beginning on the ninth of October the fighting was con- 
tinued for eight days. In magnitude it was about that of 
Gravelotte. According to the Manchnrian Army Vestnik, 
which was the official army newspaper, there were 775 officers 
and 27,887 privates wounded, and 168 officers and 3,224 
privates sick between October 8th and 21st, which partially 
represented the losses during the main action, but did not 
include the casualties in reconnoissances preceding the battle; 
they are the Red Cross returns and neither do they account 
for the killed, so that the total killed and disabled and lost 
were not less than 38,000. In the attack on the Japanese 
position defended by Kuroki, the main body of the Eastern 
Army assailed a precipitous mountain wall where nearly 5,000 
men were lost without any other result. The Fourth Corps 
was unable to defend the right flank where General Nodzu, 
having beaten back the Tenth Corps, was attacking its own 
flank. The forces under General Bilderling were unable to 
hold their line in the plain. With his Seventeenth Corps 
he held the railway, but on the twelfth of October the Tenth 
Corps on the left and the Sixth Corps on the right had 
been pushed back so far that his line was like the letter " S." 

282 



The Battle of the Sha-ho 



The Seventeenth Corps was subjected to enfilading fire on 
two sides and General Bilderling informed the commander- 
in-chief in the morning that he was unable to advance. Dur- 
ing the day the two Ingermanland regiments, the Ninth and 
Tenth from Caluga, were virtually destroyed below Tou- 
san-p'u, where they were caught on two little peninsulas 
between the Sha River and two of its tributaries. The 
Japanese appear to have ascended the beds of the streams, 
where they were able to place the two regiments under cross- 
fire. The result was almost a massacre and the Sixth Corps 
fell back several miles. The Seventeenth Corps, with its 
strong artillery was left to sustain the line, but its own losses 
for the day were about five thousand men. 

The Russian army was again on the defensive and was 
retiring to its Sha-ho position. The center had been nearly 
broken by Nodzu, and troops had been detached from the 
main body of the Eastern Army to support the Fourth Corps 
in the foothills. On the thirteenth and fourteenth the line 
swayed back and forth. On the fourteenth Nodzu advanced 
almost to the Sha River, and on this day was perhaps the 
heaviest artillery firing that the army had yet performed; 
the Seventeenth Corps by this means continued its desperate 
efforts to hold the line at the railway. General Bilderling 
was now resisting almost as desperate an attack on the rail- 
way as Stackelberg had resisted at Shou-shan in the battle 
of Liao-yang. 

The battle reached its height on the twelfth, when Kouro- 
patkin's advance was forever broken. It required yet five 
days for the Japanese effort to expend itself and for the Rus- 
sians to make good their position on the Sha River. 

On the fourteenth Kouropatkin took personal command of 
the Eastern Army, sending General Stackelberg to the rear 
with the reserves. Stackelberg had failed to turn the Japa- 
nese right flank and he was severely criticised for refusing two 

283 



The Tragedy of Russia 



or three battalions to General Samsonoff on his left, who 
thought he could turn the Japanese with this assistance. 
Stackelberg's error appears to have been that he took too 
literally General Kouropatkin's dazzling proclamation of 
advance and executed an assault upon the Japanese mountain 
front that had no hope of success. His troops advanced to 
within a mile and a half of the Japanese position in close 
formation, and in several instances were met by artillery fire 
that created great havoc in their ranks — nearly a whole 
company in one place being destroyed by shrapnel. When 
they reached the position the troops were compelled to fire 
at a mountain-top where it seemed perfectly certain the 
Japanese had only a relatively small force, but against which 
they could make no apparent impression. 

At the moment when Stackelberg's attempt had failed, 
Oku was pushing back the Western Army. The line of 
battle was marked distinctly on the Russian side by the Japa- 
nese shells, which each day crept three or four versts nearer 
the Sha-ho, the Russians being daily so much pushed back. 
On the fourteenth both the commander-in-chief and his staff 
stationed on the Pagoda Hill at Er-ta-kou, as well as General 
Bilderling and his staff of the Western Army, sticking 
doggedly to their headquarters while their armies flowed 
around them, were severely shelled. On this day the Japa- 
nese might have taken Er-ta-kou, which would have sent the 
Russian army, which was ready to flee, flying back to Mukden 
and the Hun. The effort necessary to do this would have 
been small. At a raziest, or siding, on the railway, the 
veteran, General Bilderling, with his long white beard, made 
a remarkable figure standing calmly between the rails oppo- 
site a line of infantry supports while brisants throughout 
the afternoon fell all around him. With his headquarters 
stationed just behind the Seventeenth Corps, which was the 
only part of the line that throughout the battle held its 

284 




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The Battle of the Sha-ho 



own, he was being shelled from the southeast, the south and 
the west. 

The day's killed and wounded on the twelfth were esti- 
mated at nine thousand, and the carrying capacity of the rail- 
way was overtaxed in transporting the wounded to Harbin, 
where fourteen train loads stood five days on the sidings 
before they could be evacuated. The losses soon reached 
such a high percentage that it was impossible to bring off 
all the wounded, and a medical officer was severely repri- 
manded for carrying off 150 wounded from the field, because 
it deprived the position of a whole battalion in doing so. 

The battle of the Sha-ho was fought virtually in the open, 
back and forth between the positions, and in this respect was 
unlike any previous battle of the war. It demonstrated the 
complete bravery of both combatants and is a fair example 
under favorable conditions of the power of the Russian army 
to maneuver. This army demonstrated its power of mobility 
in its advance to the Japanese position, which was on the 
east nearly twenty miles from its own, and then in retiring 
again to the Sha-ho before the Japanese advance. 

The disaster to Stackelberg on the twelfth and the loss of 
the two regiments of the Ingermanland Brigade under Gen- 
eral Zashuck below Tou-san-p'u were the great events that 
decided the battle of the Sha-ho. The attempt of Kouro- 
patkin to advance was worthy of his boast. On the day 
of that attempt 50,000 shells were given out to the artillery. 
The First Corps of the Eastern Army, under General Gern- 
grosz, reached within about eight miles of Pen-shi-hu; the 
Western Army arrived within about five miles of Yen-t'ai — 
these two points marking the limit of the Russian advance. 
On the thirteenth, when the Japanese began to advance, 
General Stackelberg was compelled to bring his army back in 
a line with Pien-chia-p'u-tzu and the holding of the line 
depended on the Seventeenth Corps, which now fought a 

285 



The Tragedy of Russia 



tremendous artillery defense covering four days. The loss 
ot the two [ngermanland regiments from Caluga made a 
deep impression upon the right flank. In the Ninth Regi- 
ment all the officers but nine were lost. Three of the four 
battalions which constituted the regiment were lost and the 
remaining battalion was merged in another regiment. There 
were but eleven officers and two battalions of the Tenth 
Regiment that survived the fight of the twelfth. Twenty 
guns were lost to the enemy west of the railway where this 
day's battle occurred, while twenty-four or twenty-five guns 
w r ere lost east of the railway, where an artillery commander 
before he was killed said that he was not informed that 
the army was falling back, and before he knew it the 
Japanese marched on him dressed in Russian uniforms. 

The battle in the plain was distinguished by a good deal 
of confusion. The Russians supposed that the Japanese as 
well as themselves suffered considerably from their own fire. 
The kind of destruction which armies wreak upon themselves 
was well illustrated here. One Russian battery was sent 
to the rear because its shells, exploding prematurely, were 
killing so many of its own soldiers. The battlefield at Tou- 
san-p'u became so involved and the dust and smoke were so 
thick that it was impossible for the different contingents to 
recognize each other. 

The Japanese appeared to have been surprised by the 
Russian advance. But they* did not appear to have been at 
all alarmed. They left their bridges and outworks intact, 
as if with the intention of returning. At their main position 
they reduced the force of the Eastern Army under Stackel- 
berg by seven thousand in two days. In the same length of 
time the rest of Kouropatkin's line was weakened by nearly 
double this number, and the Japanese were taking the offen- 
sive. The Japanese not only completely frustrated Kouro- 
patkin's attempt to turn their right flank, but defeated him on 

286 



The Battle of the Sha-ho 



his right flank, and though they did not break his center they 
pushed him beyond the Sha-ho and took the Pootiloff- 
Novogorod Hill, which, had it been held by them, would 
have broken his position on the Sha-ho. The capture of this 
hill, lying between the railway and Er-ta-kou, itself threat- 
ened to turn the advance into a retreat to the Hun. Kouro- 
patkin ordered the entire line to retire, and assembled five 
regiments to recapture this position. The position was that 
of a hill sloping upward from the south and ending abruptly 
at the Sha River, which flowed around its northern extremity. 
It commanded the plain to the north for many miles, as well 
as the hill position of the Fourth Corps where Kouropatkin 
had until now maintained his headquarters. The crest was 
scored with trenches and occupied by about one regiment, 
behind which the Japanese had placed a battery. The east 
end of the hill was called Pootiloff, the west Novogorod, 
designations given after the battle. The Eighty-sixth and 
Eighty-eighth regiments maintained a frontal attack against 
Pootiloff, while the Nineteenth and Twentieth regiments 
attacked Novogorod from the flank. The Russian batteries 
were placed to the right of the Nineteenth and Twentieth 
regiments. The Thirty-sixth Regiment was selected to make 
a detour and capture Pootiloff from the rear. In doing so 
it suffered greatly from the fire of the Eighty-sixth Regi- 
ment. The attack was made on the night of the sixteenth of 
October, and this now famous position was recaptured from 
the Japanese with a loss of three thousand Russian soldiers. 
About nine hundred of this number were lost on Pootiloff, 
of whom an unknown number were killed by the fire of the 
Eighty-sixth Regiment because that fire was not suspended 
in time. The main position was on the part of the hill called 
Novogorod. The bodies of several hundreds of Japanese 
were found in the works at daybreak of the seventeenth, 
but their total losses could only be surmised. With this 

287 



The Tragedy of Russia 



achievement, made at great cost, Kouropatkin was able to 
make good his position on the Sha River, and although 
firing continued throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth 
this event practically closed the battle of Sha-ho. 

The land battles had constantly increased in magnitude. 
While at Liao-yang the main line of battle was about fifteen 
miles long, the battle of the Sha-ho extended over a line 
nearly twice that length. The Russian army was perhaps 
not more than ten thousand men stronger than at the battle 
of Liao-yang, yet its artillery was about double. Counting 
the invalid, the Russian estimate of their own losses was 
forty-five thousand. By far the greater number of casualties 
occurred during the army's retirement after reaching the 
main Japanese position. 



r 



288 



CHAPTER XXVII 

DESTRUCTION OF THE RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE 

KOUROPATKIN'S proclamation was out. The new 
reservists arriving at Mukden station proceeded 
south without delay to the position. On the fourth 
the baggage of the commander-in-chief and the staff was 
packed ready for the advance. 

On the early morning of the fifth, at Fu-ling, seven miles 
to the east, the troops were crossing the Hun by two bridges 
one and a half miles apart, en route to the south. It was a 
day to sing. The sky was blue, the sun bright, and wild 
geese were flying south. The farmers were gathering in their 
kao-liang and other grain. Since my last visit to the hills 
that here jutted into the valley of the Hun, defenses had 
been constructed everywhere. Some of the Chinese houses 
were deserted. At the eastern edge of the forest surrounding 
the Imperial Tombs at Fu-ling a great deal of wood had been 
cut for use in the construction of bridges. Near Chiu-chan, 
a place made famous in the battle of Mukden, as being the 
spot where the Japanese broke the Russian line, a train of 
ammunition carts came out of the hills, followed by troops 
of the First Siberian Corps, which had been in camp there, 
and made their way through the sand of the wide river bed 
to a bridge crossing the stream. 

In the middle of the afternoon, when I arrived at Fu-shun, 
twenty miles east of Mukden on the Hun River, a large part 
of the transport of the Third Corps, which had itself started 
south, had just arrived at the two small bridges there and 
was slowly crossing. General Stackelberg had moved his 
headquarters from Fu-ling to Ho-shen-p'u in the south on 

289 



The Tragedy of Russia 



the day before and had himself passed through Fu-shun. By 
nightfall I had penetrated several miles into the mountains 
south of the Hun River and spent the night with the keeper 
of a little temple at the Village of Ch'ien-chin-p'u, where the 
villagers informed me that the soldiers had passed southward 
the day before. 

On the morning of the sixth I overtook the column and 
followed it for some distance. The hoar-frost dissolving in 
the morning sun moistened the roads and softened the dead 
crops. As the soldiers marched along they pulled up the 
peanut vines and the turnips and spread themselves out over 
the fields like a migratory herd. Whatever they might use 
they took, greatly to the astonishment of the Chinese, who 
were not yet accustomed in this region to the depredations 
of the soldiers. Occasionally they ventured to speak a few 
words of Russian, for the Chinese are quick to establish a 
basis upon which to deal without violence. We proceeded 
south by the Shi-hu-ch'ang road and up the Shi River to 
Pa-chia-tzii in the mountains. The middle of the afternoon 
I passed over the Hua-ling, where a battalion of the Sixth 
Brigade was encamped, and then over the Kao-t'ou-ling, 
where a simliar force was engaged in widening and leveling 
the native cart road. It was apparent that whatever came of 
the war the Russians, at any rate, would have greatly 
improved communications, especially in the mountains, where 
nearly all the passes had been widened by blasting and the 
approaches leveled up. 

At the advanced position I met General Danieloff and his 
staff, who said that there were no troops farther south, only 
Cossacks, and I returned with them to General Ivanoft's 
headquarters. This was the Third Corps, formerly the 
Eastern Detachment that had fought most of the battles of 
the Feng-huang-ch'cng road. 

On the seventh I proceeded west just inside the position. 

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Destruction of the Russian Offensive 

The road was sometimes a mere bridle path, but led through 
little orchards in the recesses of the mountains and over pic- 
turesque passes covered with ripening foliage in all the 
autumn colors. The officers warned me to beware of the 
" Hung-hu-tzus ! " — their bete noir. I observed when a 
stranger appeared up there in the hills the knowledge flew 
like wildfire — one's progress was heralded by the natives. 
The natives did not understand the appearance of the army 
so unexpectedly, and were a little startled and curious to 
know what was going to happen. They seemed to be mostly 
in the roadways watching the orderlies going up and down, 
or from some eminence viewing the encampments. The 
temptation to climb to some high lookout was often a fatal 
misfortune to the Chinese. It brought them under the sus- 
picion of being spies. It only required an ignorant Chinese 
peasant high up on a mountainside, or posing near a pin- 
nacle — where in fact he might be informing by gesture the 
countryside— to incense the simple Russian soldiers, and a 
charge by these soldiers of being a signaler, or " signalchik," 
as they called it, was sufficient evidence upon which to execute 
the victim. 

The activity of the various columns in these difficult moun- 
tains, where the Russians were now applying themselves to 
a task — that of advance — such as the Japanese appeared to 
have just quit and for which they had set the Russian army 
an example, afforded an entirely new view of the Russian 
soldiers. The region was new to them; they had to traverse 
a wide zone of hostile country, and were building roads and 
bridges along the primitive, native highways, as Kuroki's 
army had done in its long march through the Mo-t'ien-ling. 
As pioneers they seemed at their best, and their costumes 
seemed to harmonize so much better with the colors of 
autumn than with the colors of spring and summer, and were 
especially harmonious with the gray of the fields. 

291 



The Tragedy of Russia 



I arrived at T'ai-kou, where was General Krastilinsky's 
division of the Third Corps, and was entertained by the 
officers of a battery. At noon we mounted a high hill, from 
which we could see both flanks of the Eastern Army's posi- 
tion. Late in the afternoon I reached Stackelberg's head- 
quarters at Ho-shen-p'u, where I stopped overnight. In 
the evening, while sitting with Colonel Waters of the British 
army and Captain Reichman of the American army in a 
native fang-tz.u, w r e heard just after nightfall the band play- 
ing on the outskirts of the camp, and Colonel Waters 
remarked solemnly, " They are marching them off." It was 
indeed true — the men were being marched off to music to 
take their place by night along the advanced position. It was 
a weird and solemn moment just before we lay down for 
the night. 

At nine in the morning of the eighth I continued westward, 
passing the Second Army Corps, commanded by General 
Sassulitch, which was likewise pushing southward. To the 
west of his line of advance I arrived at a little village in 
time to see a squad of Cossacks looting a couple of native 
merchants of a quantity of pears. The plundered men 
appealed to me, but I could of course do nothing for them. 
On the other hand, I was in need of bread, but could get none 
at any price, because they were afraid to let the Cossacks 
see that there was anything else to loot. Among the mild 
and well-mannered Chinese the soldiers were ogres; the 
Cossacks were like savages. 

On the morning of the ninth, when the battle was ready to 
commence, I left Mukden for the Western Army, crossing 
the Hun about an hour after dawn. The region was now a 
network of telegraph communications. The railroad up the 
Hun River valley to the coal mines opposite Fu-shun had 
been completed since the loss of the Yen-t'ai mines, and a 
train was moving leisurely off to the east. The Fourth 

2Q2 



Destruction of the Russian Offensive 

Corps of General Zarubaieff had advanced to the Pagoda 
Hill, and Kouropatkin with his headquarters was at Kuan- 
shan. I passed the headquarters of the Tenth Corps at 
Chiang-hu-t'un on the Imperial road and about noon reached 
the headquarters of the Seventeenth Corps, about four versts 
further west on the railway. General Bilderling's head- 
quarters were just being established in the Village of Hsu- 
lin-tzii. The general himself, now the commander of the 
Western Army, had not yet arrived. The officers were 
selecting their quarters, and in one fang-tzu three officers were 
standing about a native oven where a Chinese was making 
corn muffins. The smell of the muffins was tantalizing, and 
it was evident that the officers were only waiting until the 
muffins were cooked to try them. The simplest Chinese are 
equally hospitable and polite with the best classes of Occi- 
dentals, and here was an excellent prospect of the few 
Chinese going hungry. Most of the food and forage 
which had accumulated here disappeared in a few days, and 
the hospitable Chinese peasant who had entertained the 
officers on their arrival stood on the broken wall of his 
desolated premises and watched the shrapnel creeping up to 
the village as the Japanese advanced, and when the bullets 
were striking the rear of the train on the railway track oppo- 
site, he was still standing there trying to make out what was 
happening. In return, however, these Chinese often fared 
well on food from the officers' tables. 

By noon the masses of troops began coming down along 
the railway. Battalion after battalion passed, and then 
several troops of cavalry and artillery. At 2: 15 in the 
afternoon there were three long cannon rolls on the south- 
west, which in a few minutes were several times repeated 
and were the beginning of a regular cannonade. A cold 
rain was falling. There was now an interval of ten minutes, 
during which a long line of artillery hurried along the 

293 



The Tragedy of Russia 



railway to the south. A report now reached General Bilder- 
ling from Stackelberg's army, which was a day's march 
south of Ho-shen-p'u, that Mischenko had reported that the 
Japanese were not in position at the Yen-t'ai coal mines, 
which, with the position leading to the east was the objective 
point of the Eastern Army. It was a good illustration of 
the false information which circulates in an army during an 
engagement. The Japanese were apprehending Kouropat- 
kin's design on their right flank, and were falling steadily 
back, but were actually defending the position mentioned. 

The Tenth Corps reported the Japanese throwing up 
earthworks in the path, and the army was warned that 
the Japanese were preparing to resist. The advance guard, 
about four miles south of Hsu-lin-tzu, moving toward Yen- 
t'ai, was engaged about 3 : 30 in the afternoon. A heavy 
cannonade extended west beyond the Sha River, which at 
this place flows in a southerly direction. Passing back of the 
line, I reached the right of the Seventeenth Corps at evening. 
It required two hours to find my way through the kao-liang, 
which was dripping with water, and over the slippery roads. 
The Seventeenth Corps on the right was pushing down the 
Sha River and pressing the Japanese left. Just at dusk, 
while I was seeking the Fifty-second Regiment of dragoons — 
Colonel Stakovitch — I was arrested by sentries, of whom I 
inquired for the road. As I was being marched off with one 
soldier at my horse's bridle ( and the other following behind, 
a third soldier ran out of the kao-liang and spoke to me in 
English. He was an American Jew who had been impressed 
into the Russian army while on a visit to Russia. He was 
a young fellow, and appeared to be exceedingly anxious to 
exhibit his qualifications for a peaceable occupation in a safe 
place. Later he became an interpreter at Harbin. He had 
been standing all afternoon in the wet weeds and kao-liang 
beside a muddy lane, his clothes soaked with water. 

294 



Destruction of the Russian Offensive 



I was led into a field of tall kao-liang to a battery of 
artillery that had just fired its last shot for the day and was 
shifting its position. It was now dark, and it was necessary 
before I could reach Colonel Stakovitch to have a guard. 
The country was like a wilderness and the darkness was 
intense. We advanced along a roadway until we reached a 
place that must have been a village, because the road was 
deeply sunken and overhung with willows. It seemed to 
be a rendezvous, for we met other officers, and a consulta- 
tion was held for several minutes. About eight o'clock in 
the evening two officers, with an escort of Cossacks, were 
dispatched to the Fifty-second Dragoons, and I accompanied 
them. It was nearly ten o'clock when we reached Colonel 
Stakovitch's command and found him occupying the Village 
of Tou-san-pu, which he had taken from a force of about one 
battalion of Japanese, including cavalry. The Japanese had 
made no resistance. The position was the most advanced 
in the whole line, and Colonel Stakovitch was in great 
doubt as to whether his commander would permit him to 
remain in occupation of it during the night. He was in the 
outer buildings of a large native distillery, where he offered 
the hospitality of his camp. The Japanese, he said, had 
left a bridge across the river and had withdrawn rather 
hurriedly, leaving their works undamaged. 

We bivouacked in one of the inner buildings, picketing our 
horses in the court outside. The officers of the Colonel's 
staff dined on but meager fare from their saddle-bags, and 
gave me a place at their board as a guest of honor. One 
of the younger officers, Annabel by name, a perfectly fearless 
young fellow and the charm of the bivouac, seemed to make 
it his special duty to anticipate my wants, which, considering 
that it was they who had fought the battle and that I was a 
mere onlooker, was a mark of kindness which itself could 
never be forgotten. A most pathetic sequel made it yet more 

295 



The Tragedy of Russia 



kind; relatively speaking — for there was no time in which 
to repay his kindness — it was but a few hours until he fell, 
his breast crushed by a piece of shell. I never saw him again. 
He was buried among the kao-liang fields at Tou-san-p'u. 
In contrast to Annabel was a young officer who spoke 
English very well and complained of the hardships and of 
having had no newspapers, books, or writing paper for three 
months. 

We went to sleep with misgivings, as Colonel Stakovitch 
was uneasy about his right flank and was still waiting for 
approval to remain in the place. During the night three or 
four messengers arrived and he got but little sleep. On 
the morning of the tenth we arose to find bullet holes in the 
paper windows of the house where we had slept. The 
Japanese had closed up and were very near, and Colonel 
Stakovitch was still worried about his right flank. 

By the middle of the morning General Greikoff on the 
west was reported to be moving back, and as his right flank 
was more than ever exposed, Colonel Stakovitch at 11:30 
moved back his artillery, consisting of tw r o guns, from the 
village. The village now became the firing line. At two 
o'clock we were in heavy rifle fire and had to take refuge 
behind the buildings and walls of the village. Stakovitch 
himself led the infantry line into its position, and I w T as 
surprised to see with what daring he mounted to the tops 
of walls where, in plain view of the Japanese, he inspected 
their position through his glasses. The tenth was another 
bright sunny day. The sky had cleared, and with the sun 
upon them the Russian officers and men could be seen for a 
long distance by the Japanese to the south, whose vision was 
not impaired by the sun shining in their eyes, as was our 
own. 

At two o'clock the Japanese were pressing their advance 
so hard that we had to retire from the village by a sunken 

296 



Destruction of the Russian Offensive 

road. The bullets were chipping up the tiled roofs of the 
houses and striking the trees with such frequency that the 
birds and crows could not light in them. Colonel Stakovitch 
retired to the open plain back of the village and sent Cos- 
sacks to scout his right flank, and by nightfall, distrusting the 
Japanese movement, fell farther back. 

Seeing his line about to be pushed back on the right flank, 
General Kouropatkin ordered it to be made strong by earth- 
works. 

During the day the Dragoons captured a copy of the 
Mikado's message to the Japanese army, in which he said 
he was still awaiting a grand victory, and by this the Russian 
Grand Army was informed of a great intention upon the 
part of its antagonist. The Japanese movement of the west 
indicated that they were re-enforcing their left flank. At 
the close of the day the lines were parallel, running from 
southeast to northwest. The Russians had discovered the 
difficulty of forcing the Japanese position on the railway 
in front of the T'ai-tzii — where the Japanese had apparently 
at least one hundred guns — from the direction of the plain, 
and were already preparing against being defeated in the 
plain. Here they had an excess of at least five thousand 
cavalry over the Japanese. 

In the afternoon four wounded Japanese were captured 
and brought to General Bilderling's headquarters. They 
were poorly clad in summer dress and seemed to show that 
the infantry had not yet received its winter clothing. The 
Japanese cavalry was known to be properly clad and it was 
believed that as the Japanese army could replenish all losses 
within ten days, that it had all the munitions of war that 
were necessary for the battle. At places like Tou-san-p'u, 
which was now Japanese, now Russian, some intelligent 
Chinese had built bomb-proofs in which they had sheltered 
their families and where they had gathered some of their 

297 



The Tragedy of Russia 



belongings. Others were moving their belongings from one 
place to another, but everywhere Chinese continued to gather 
their crops between the cannonadings, and sometimes under 
rifle fire. Often a single Chinese could be seen working away 
for hours unconscious of the fact that he was the target of 
several rifles and could at last be seen to disappear calmly 
into the walls of his little garden. 

A heavy cannonade west of the railway and in the foot- 
hills in front of the Fourth Corps, continued throughout the 
day and indicated the beginning of a great battle. On the 
eleventh the cannonading began at five o'clock in the morn- 
ing and continued almost unbroken until 6 : 30 in the evening. 
The Tenth Corps, and the Fourth Corps were now meeting 
with strong resistance. From the railway south of Hsu-lin- 
tzu the hills could be seen for miles flowered with bursting 
shrapnel; the main body of the Eastern Army was approach- 
ing the main position east and north of the Yen-t'ai mines, 
and General Bilderling again pressed back the Japanese left, 
Stakovitch for the third time occupying the Village of Tou- 
san-p'u. 

The battlefield by this time, when we were on the eve 
of the greatest events, began to show the effects of more 
than two days of fighting; the field hospitals being nearly 
all busy, and the wounded could be seen making their way 
to the rear at all parts of the line. At nightfall on the 
eleventh the armies for thirty miles of the plain and the hills 
were facing each other in close contact. 

Six hundred wounded had arrived at the field hospital 
at Hsu-lin-tzii ; a mile of ground was lost by evening. It was 
seen that the Japanese were determined to hold a small 
stream called the Hsu-li, which described their position on 
the plain and emptied into the Sha-ho south of Tou-san-p'u. 
As Stackelberg, with the main body of the Eastern Army, 
had reached the eastern extremity of this position in the 

298 



Destruction of the Russian Offensive 

mountains and the Japanese showed no disposition to retire 
further, Kouropatkin issued a peremptory command to ad- 
vance. This effort, which was to begin on the morrow, the 
Seventeenth Corps prepared for by retaking in the night 
at the point of the bayonet a village near the railway. 

The fighting opened at dawn of the twelfth on the south- 
west by a cannonade that gradually extended to the eastward. 
At 8 : 30 the artillery of the Seventeenth Corps on the 
railway was laboring to clear the field in front preparatory 
to an infantry advance. The baggage of the staff of the 
Western Army at Hsu-lin-tzu was in a state of preparation 
for moving forward. At 9 : 30 General Bilderling and his 
staff were on the railway embankment a mile and a half to 
the south, and not more than a verst behind were the Rus- 
sian batteries over which the Japanese shells were breaking. 
While standing with the staff at this place young Count 
Keller — son of General Keller, who was killed at Yang-tzu- 
ling — who was attached to the Western Army staff, handed 
me a letter from a little girl in Cincinnati addressed to his 
father. Keller had just finished telling me of the great 
possibilities for destruction and havoc within the next twenty- 
four hours. We had been discussing the artillery, which on 
the Russian side had doubled in strength since the battle 
of Liao-yang, and he had finished saying that more ammuni- 
tion had been used in that great battle than was used in the 
whole of the Franco-Prussian War. 

"Read it," said Keller; " my father did not live to 
receive it." 

The letter was evidently written when General Keller was 
fighting the battle of Mo-t'ien-ling. It told him how 
wicked it was for men to kill each other, and in a childish 
hand, with the complete confidence of childhood, the little 
Miss begged General Keller to " please stop the war." If 
she should ever read these lines, that little girl may know 

299 



The Tragedy of Russia 



that, though her letter never reached General Keller, it was 
treasured as a memento of an unhappy and unfortunate war 
by his son, and that many gallant Russian officers of rank who 
were as helpless as General Keller to influence the course 
of the government and of the conspirators shared her con- 
victions. 

Within a few minutes we could see from our position 
that a great battle was raging along the foothills, where 
Nodzu was pushing back along the flank of the Fourth 
Corps, and it was apparent that the Japanese were rapidly 
gaining ground in the center right under Kouropatkin's eyes. 
At eleven in the morning Stakovitch was still holding Tou- 
san-p'u, and the Ingermanland Brigade was attempting the 
turning of Oku's left flank to counteract the disaster taking 
place in the center, where the Fourth Corps had already 
given way and the Tenth Corps as well had now 7 begun to 
fall back. Masses of troops throughout the morning moved 
to the southwest, where General Bilderling's effort to turn 
Oku's flank was in progress. 

Leaving the staff where it was, still stationed on the rail- 
way, I rode south to the line with these troops and turned 
east, crossing the railway to a little village on the Chinese 
Imperial road, in front of which intrenchments had been 
thrown up. It was a part of the Tenth Corps, which was 
making a desperate effort to hold its position. A quarter of 
a mile farther east was the r Hung-pao Hill, along the front, 
of which shrapnel was breaking. I halted fifteen minutes 
to feed my horse, and while resting in the village inn an 
officer called to identify me and to say that the Japanese 
were very near. 

The hill was still being held, but the Japanese were press- 
ing in on the east of it. Leaving the village shortly after 
midday I reached the Hung-pao Hill, from the summit of 
which the line of battle from Tou-san-p'u to the eastern 

300 



Destruction of the Russian Offensive 

mountains could be seen. At two o'clock the advance line 
of the Tenth Corps could be seen falling back and occupying 
the trenches leading off at right angles from the front of 
Hung-pao Hill. The Japanese artillery opposite could be 
distinguished by the clouds of dust which it raised when it 
fired. Opposite the hill three miles to the south was a similar 
elevation, on the front of which a Japanese battery was 
seen to take its position and open fire upon us. It began with 
brisants, some of which passed over us, but the most of 
which fell on the left slope of the hill just back of the 
trenches. About a dozen officers had gathered on the crest 
and were watching the action, and we all immediately lay 
down out of view. The tremendous noise of the brisants, 
w T ith the great clouds of black dust which they threw up, had 
within a few minutes turned this spot into a crater, like that 
of a volcano. The battlefield as far as the eye could reach 
was a mass of overhanging haze and smoke, but partly on 
account of the half bare fields and the manner in which the 
Japanese were crowding our position their lines could be 
distinctly traced. Especially where any movement took place 
it was always defined by the rising dust, for the fields and 
roads were now dry — a large part of the crops had been 
harvested. Nothing could be heard of Stackelberg's battle 
on the extreme east, though it was known that he was send- 
ing re-enforcements to the Fourth Corps, which was now 
joining with the Tenth to arrest Nodzu from wedging in at 
the foothills. The Tenth was calling for re-enforcements, 
and at 2:20 along the road on the east side of the hill 
leading to Chiang-hu-t'un a mass of troops, artillery and 
field kitchens of this corps was retiring. Had the shells with 
which we were being bombarded struck this body great havoc 
would have resulted. Two or three brisants fell a little to 
their rear. They appeared to be in plain view of the 
Japanese artillerists on the hill opposite us. Within five 

301 



flssrtss 



The Tragedy of Russia 



minutes at least twenty shells had struck not more than 
three hundred yards to their right. 

All but one or two of the officers now left the summit 
of the hill, retiring with the troops that had by this time 
been able to make their way out of the road beneath. The 
Japanese continued to shell with brisants, and among the 
great columns of dust and smoke which they sent up, the Rus- 
sian soldiers could be seen occupying the trenches, some 
of them disappearing in the smoke and others skirting the 
great holes excavated by the explosions while they were en 
route. For several minutes infantrymen carrying ammuni- 
tion continued to cross this zone. From where they lay 
close to the ground they awaited a salvo of explosives and 
then after the explosions arose quickly and made a dash for 
the trenches a few hundred yards ahead. 

Shells could be seen desultorily breaking on the hills five 
miles to the southeast. The haze and smoke had accumu- 
lated in the plain and was now hanging in heavy clouds west 
of the railway, where the battle was centering. 

I returned to the west of the railway in the direction of 
Tou-san-p'u, where the most terrible fighting of the day had 
taken place. General Zashuck of the Ingermanland Brigade 
was wounded, and Kreestopenko, one of his colonels, killed. 
The possession of Tou-san-p'u was contested until noon, 
when the Japanese made good their occupation and Bilder- 
ling's attempt on the Japanese left had entirely failed. A 
brigade was all but destroyed, and was so completely demor- 
alized that when one of its officers, who spoke Russian imper- 
fectly, wandered back, he was arrested as a Japanese, and it 
was some time before he established his identity. 

General Bilderling left Hsu-lin-tzii shortly after noon 
when Tou-san-p'u was lost, and retired to Han-ch'ien-p'u. 
At four o'clock all the troops that on the ninth had hur- 
ried past this place to the front were trooping back after a 

302 



Destruction of the Russian Offensive 

hard three-days' battle. At 4: 15 the roads leading up 
the railway, like those at the Hung-pao Hill, were filled 
with retiring armies, while furious rifle firing was going on 
to the south and southwest. The trains were assisting the 
army to retire, picking up wounded and stragglers in the rear. 
The line was but a mile south of Hsu-lin-tzii, where General 
Bilderling had had his headquarters in the morning, and the 
Japanese were harassing the beaten troops, whose retreat, 
however, they were unable to infect with disorder. The 
armies moved in an orderly and dogged progress toward 
their position on the Sha. The retreating men were so tired 
that they could hardly take another step. They could hear 
a continuous battle on the east and on the west as well, and 
at sundown, before they had made good their retreat, the 
sound of one terrific rifle attack after another forced 
them on. 

A surgical train was all day busy near General Bilderling's 
headquarters with the wounded, and several long Red Cross 
trains were dispatched north during the day. At sundown 
the rifle firing continued and could be heard in the south- 
west like the hum of a dynamo, where the Russian rear-guard 
was holding its ground. During the night both the Japanese 
and Russians got lost in the intricate and muddy water- 
courses in the vicinity of Tou-san-p'u and fired upon their 
own men. 

The battle of the twelfth subsided, and General Bilderling, 
with his staff in the gloom of nightfall, came up from below 
Hsu-lin-tzii and passed along the railway over the Sha to 
their new bivouac at Han-ch'ien-p'u, where we all spent the 
night in strange quarters. We had some pieces of candle 
with which we illuminated the dark Chinese house, and 
waited for our evening meal. The officers told stories of 
exploits that had taken place during the day at Tou-san-p'u, 
where sixteen guns were lost. The artillerymen had been 

303 



The Tragedy of Russia 



killed and the horsemen in the rear made a desperate and 
heroic effort to recover the guns, galloping up to them 
through a heavy fire. But all of their horses being killed 
the guns were finally given up. The fighting for the day had 
trebled in severity that of the eleventh, and as we did not 
know what would be the events of the morrow we laid down 
to sleep early. The staff did not creep to its bivouac like 
beaten and disheartened men. The officers appeared more 
like lords who rise above present disasters and know how to 
await a better day. General Bilderling's situation was not 
so good as in the battle of Liao-yang, when he assisted in 
arresting Kuroki's advance north of the T'ai-tzii. Before 
Oku he was falling back, and it was not certain that at the 
Sha-ho he could hold Oku as Stackelberg had done at 
Shou-shan. 

At dawn of the thirteenth the Japanese continued their 
advance, and the whole army was on the defensive. Espe- 
cially in the plain was there a continuous cannonade, equal- 
ing that of the twelfth. The staff arose, I thought, rather 
late, but it was according to routine, which did not seem to 
be affected by the misfortunes of the battlefield. The army 
had but one duty, and that was to contest the ground over 
which it was falling back. During the day a messenger 
arrived from the Eastern Army, giving the details of Stackel- 
berg's disasters. The first reports which we had received of 
General Gerngrosz's arrival at Pen-shi-hu were disproved, 
for he had not arrived within five miles of that place. 
Stackelberg had been continually fighting, but had made no 
advance whatsoever, and was now falling back. 

The rear of the army was quiet; the roads were deserted 
except for the Red Cross carts and litters with their wounded 
crawling slowly along. The sounds of battle could be heard 
loudly at Mukden, where the concussions were shaking the 
windows. The Japanese had made no advance during the 

3°4 



Destruction of the Russian Offensive 

night, but toward noon the entire front of the Western Army 
was again falling back. At midnight the baggage and the 
wounded that had accumulated at Hsu-lin-tzu was safely 
removed and the place evacuated. General Bilderling went 
farther back, also. The Tenth Corps had abandoned Hung- 
pao Hill and was at Sha-ho-p'u on the river. In the Seven- 
teenth Corps bitter complaints were heard of General Mis- 
chenko's force, and a division of the center under General 
Mao, who fell back every time the Japanese pressed them. 

The Japanese began their advance on the fourteenth, two 
hours before dawn, and they appeared to be determined upon 
taking the Sha-ho position. The Fourth Corps sent the press 
correspondents attached to it to the rear. At this time Kouro- 
patkin took the command of all the forces in the foothills and 
mountains. In the rear of the Tenth Corps at seven in the 
morning large numbers of native refugees, who had been 
dislodged by the battle, were fleeing before the Russian 
armies as the Russian armies were retiring before the Japa- 
nese advance. There was an almost continuous line of these 
refugees winding along the Chinese Imperial road to Muk- 
den. At eight in the morning fully a mile's length of 
artillery and reserve ammunition caissons were falling back 
in reserve half way to the Hun River. The baggage of the 
Tenth Corps was also moving northward and filled up the 
road for a mile and a half. When I arrived at the Sha-ho 
the battle had developed along the entire line, but at eight 
o'clock was most noisy in the foothills, and then the noise 
seemed to shift at nine in the morning to west of the railway. 
A great artillery fire was opened upon the position occupied 
by the Japanese during the night. General Bilderling arrived 
at a little siding just above the Sha railway bridge at 9: 15. 
The Japanese hussars, we learned, had at about two o'clock 
in the morning taken nine guns from the Tenth Corps, which 
was now calling for re-enforcements. The troops, however, 

3°5 



The Tragedy of Russia 



were shifted a little farther to the right, and the Tenth Corps 
left to shift for itself. Half a regiment poured across the 
railroad in front of us and advanced to a little village com- 
manding the Sha River bridge. 

" To-day the losses will be very great," remarked one 
of the staff, while another said, " The battle will be greater 
than at Liao-yang." 

At 9 : 45 an additional heavy line of troops was drawn 
up behind Lin-shen-p'u at the bend of the Sha, and it was 
evident that General Bilderling feared the loss of the railway 
bridge. The Japanese were in possession of the only 
detached hills between the railway and foothills, from which 
they commanded the entire plain from the railway to Er-ta- 
kou. The Seventeenth Corps on the railway had a better 
position than at any time during the battle, but on the left 
flank of the Western Army the Tenth Corps had a weaker 
position than it had had on the thirteenth and was unable to 
make a stand. The Japanese artillery had ceased firing about 
eight o'clock and continued silent for more than an hour, 
while they attacked the Tenth Corps with their infantry. 
At 10: 30 several Japanese shells burst over a Russian bat- 
tery not more than half a mile from us on the right, indicat- 
ing that they had changed the position of their artillery 
and moved it much closer. Rifle firing soon followed, and 
it was seen that the Sixth Corps was moving forward. It 
was reported that the Japanese were falling back before 
them. The reverse was the case. The Sixth Corps was 
falling back and the Seventeenth was carrying on the most 
desperate artillery fire to steady the line that had yet been 
made. Better than any reports of the orderlies were the 
explosions of the Japanese shells by which the advance of 
the Japanese could be accurately gauged. At 12: 20, when 
the Sixth Corps was reported to have pressed back the 
Japanese, one of the Japanese shimose brisants fell just in 

306 



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General Tisenhausen (autograph), Chief-of-StafF, Third Army 



c 



Destruction of the Russian Offensive 

front of the staff position. To the haze of autumn was 
added the smoke of battle. 

It began to cloud up and, on account of the heavy cannon- 
ading, at one o'clock rain fell, mixed with hail. Under a 
long serpentine cloud hovering over the battle line from the 
dim west to the distant mountains in the east a storm broke 
and raged throughout the day, culminating at four in the 
afternoon, when the scene was dramatic in the extreme. The 
Tenth Corps had continued to lose, and since 3 : 30 was being 
rapidly pressed back. The Seventeenth was firing desper- 
ately and apparently gaining a little on account of its great 
expenditure of artillery ammunition. At four o'clock it was 
believed that this was to be the greatest of all the six days 
since the army had engaged the enemy. An appeal for 
re-enforcements and support had just arrived from the Tenth 
Corps. The rain burst with renewed power over the little 
station where we stood. Some of the officers had taken 
shelter in some buildings on the east side of the track, and, 
throwing a waterproof over my saddle, I left my horse stand- 
ing under the eave of one of the houses, and went inside 
and laid down on a bench covered with straw. I had not 
been in the house more than a few minutes when a brisant 
exploded on the opposite side of the track, in a spot filled 
with troops and horses. I sprang through the window and 
reached the railway embankment in time to see the effects of 
the explosion. Several other shells fell to the south of- us, 
and the train of baggage wagons began to hurry away. 

It was about 4:30 in the afternoon, and the Japanese, 
who evidently had discovered the range of the station, now 
began to regularly shell us. Within a few minutes we had 
received brisants on all sides. The first large numbers of 
wounded from the firing line to come up by this road had 
just arrived and had mingled with the baggage and ammuni- 
tion trains and were moving along under great strain on the 

307 



The Tragedy of Russia 



slippery road. The roar of the artillery was mixed with the 
roll of thunder. Riderless horses careered frightened across 
the field nickering for their riders. Several carts were 
destroyed by the fire, and one horse galloped past with only 
the broken shafts of a baggage cart. One shell fell behind 
us and two or three others immediately in front. General 
Bilderling remained impassive on the railway embankment, 
while his adjutant fiercely shouted out the cry to the now 
excited column moving to the north, " Sha-gom ! " — in a 
walk, slowly. Other officers repeated the orders, adding, 
" You see the staff stands, slowly ! The staff remains ! ' 
Many commands were given before the men and wagons 
could be slowed down to a regular march. 

The rainfall continued, and the Japanese, who were accus- 
tomed to attack in the latter part of the afternoon, continued 
shelling. The Sixth Corps had fallen back more than five 
miles, and it was evident that the Japanese battery shelling 
us was immediately to the west. The position of the Tenth 
Corps at evening was somewhat better than that of the Sixth. 
In had during the day frustrated an attempt of the Japanese 
hussars to break its left. Night closed with the wounded in 
litters and afoot struggling through the mud in the wet 
and cold. Horses dragging parts of destroyed vehicles 
passed en route to the rear. We could see the flash of the 
guns in the purple gloom before we left the position, and 
there was apparently no cessation of their fire. The hospital 
carriages were insufficient for carrying off the wounded, and 
it seemed that the ordinary train to carry them off would 
never arrive. The staff retired at dark, and when we reached 
headquarters at Su-chia-t'un a hospital train was pushing 
slowly southward. General Bilderling's right flank at night 
had been pushed back in the direction of Su-chia-t'un, and 
had retired to such a distance that General Bilderling issued 
orders that it must hold its position. The Japanese had sue- 

3 o8 



Destruction of the Russian Offensive 

cessfully enfiladed the Russian line at three separate places, 
where great losses to the Russians had resulted. Added to 
their successes on the twelfth at Tou-san-p'u and in the 
mountains over Stackelberg's main body, they had destroyed 
a regiment of the Fourth Corps, and by nightfall occupied 
the Pootiloff, or Lone Tree Hill. The army at the close 
of the day was prepared to fall farther back at early morning 
of the morrow. 

On the morning of the fifteenth the Sha-ho position might 
be said to have passed to the Japanese. Only the artillery 
grouped in the center on the railway prevented the Japanese 
from occupying both banks of the river. On account of the 
rains the Russian army was unable to move easily, and the 
day was for the most part quiet, the battle continuing only 
in a desultory fashion. For several miles along the east side 
of the railway, where the embankment prevented its escape, 
the water was belly deep to a horse, and wounded men could 
be seen marooned on little islands here and there, where they 
had spent the night and had no means of escape. 

The battle of the Sha-ho would now have been finished 
had not the position of the Grand Army been so absurd. 
Stackelberg, in his strong mountain positions, was holding 
the headwaters of the Sha, but in the plain the Japanese had 
pushed in the line for several versts in two places. While 
the great mass of artillery was apparently able to hold the 
railway, the army in the plain was in danger both of being 
flanked and of having its line broken. Kouropatkin, still at 
Kuan-shan, in order to recover his line, proceeded by a des- 
perate effort to recapture Pootiloff, or Lone Tree Hill, which, 
if he were successful, would give the army a position for the 
winter. 

When, on the morning of the sixteenth, the guns began 
slowly and solemnly firing, it was as though they grumbled 
at breaking the day of rest, for it was Sunday, the seventh 

309 



The Tragedy of Russia 



day of the battle. I passed the night in Mukden, and was in 
the field rather late in the morning, for I did not pass the 
Hun until after ten o'clock. From Mukden walls all the 
way to the Tenth Corps the Imperial road was filled with 
native women and children fleeing to Mukden. They were 
carrying a few effects and had come from places two and 
three miles north of the Sha, and their exodus showed that 
the Russians were throwing up positions in a line from Kuan- 
shan to the end of the old railway embankment at Su-chia- 
t'un. The floods had subsided, and the Imperial road, from 
the great amount of traffic during the last two days, through 
Pai-t'a-p'u and to the south was burnished like nickel. New 
telegraphs had been strung in all directions and were already 
become broken and tangled. The balloon of the Tenth Corps 
was back at Pai-t'a-p'u nearly to the Hun, and the corps head- 
quarters was nearly twenty miles north of where it had been 
when the battle began. Several correspondents and attaches 
crossed the rear here, and the manager of the Mukden bank 
was watching the shelling of a battalion of infantry intrench- 
ing itself in a village below Pai-t'a-p'u. A great many 
wounded were coming out of the bleak fields a little farther 
down — some were being carried. The Japanese shrapnel 
reached as far north as a line intersecting Su-chia-t'un and 
Kuan-shan. 

The Pagoda Hill at Er-ta-kou still marked the fighting 
line at the hills. At noon the batteries between Kuan-shan 
and the Imperial road were firing upon Pootiloff. 

Kouropatkin had now drawn upon the Eastern Army for 
fully a third of its forces, with which to recover his center. 
The men of the Western Army were greatly aggravated by 
having their own guns turned against them, for the Japanese 
had so much of their artillery and ammunition as to be able 
to shell them at a range two or three versts greater than with 
their own field-guns. The guns taken at Tou-san-p'u and 

310 



Destruction of the Russian Offensive 

those taken in the center on the twelfth were immediately 
turned against the Russians. At nightfall the Japanese had 
worked their way past Hsu-lin-tzu to Lin-shen-p'u, the pos- 
session of which was divided by the Sha River between the 
Russians and Japanese. The railway bridge was in dispute 
and could be occupied by neither side. 

By evening I was far down toward this position and 
started to return at sundown to the headquarters of the 
Western Army. But learning that it had withdrawn to 
Kao-lao-tzu several versts north of its last position, I stopped 
in a village between the railway and the Imperial road not 
far from Pootiloff and quite close to the position. The 
village was entirely abandoned except by a Cossack post. 
I occupied a fanz-tzu a little distance from the Cossacks, 
where I found forage for my horse. I had once before slept 
here, but I could now scarcely recognize the place, for the 
houses were all partly dismantled. I was alone, and, as firing 
continued intermittently and the staff had moved farther 
back, I made as little show as possible, so that I might not 
be molested by the Cossacks, and awaited with some appre- 
hension the events of the night. 

At dark General Kouropatkin began to assemble troops 
to take the Pootiloff and Novogorod Hill. At eleven o'clock 
a terrifying rifle fire began at Lin-shen-p'u and along the Sha 
to Sha-ho-p'u. It was accompanied by cannon on the south- 
east, where the hill was being bombarded preliminary to 
the bayonet charge with which it was intended to be taken. 
I had never heard such a grewsome clatter. I had put my 
horse in one end of the building where I bivouacked, and 
barred the door so as to guard against mishap from losing 
him. I had two matches, with one of which I lighted a piece 
of candle, and with this lighted a fire and heated some water 
in a broken kettle which I found in the house. I ate some 
provisions from my saddle-bags and then lay down on 

3ii 



The Tragedy of Russia 



a heap of straw on the k'ang. But the night was so terrify- 
ing that it was impossible to sleep, and it seemed that the 
bullets must at any time be turned against the place. A 
counter attack was made at Lin-shen-p'u by the Japanese 
to distract the attention of the Russians from Pootiloff. 
They tried to rush the village, but were repulsed. The 
firing continued until morning from the railway to Pootiloff, 
and at dawn Kouropatkin's soldiers were in possession of 
the works on the crest of Pootiloff and Novogorod. 

This was one of the most desperate actions of the battle 
on the part of the Russians and concluded the grand fighting. 
The Japanese did not essay any retaliation since they had 
defended the hill so well, although they found their oppor- 
tunity the succeeding night to take a pyramidal hill south- 
east of Er-ta-kou occupied by six or seven hundred of 
Mischenko's men, who lost three hundred and eighty of 
their number without being able to inflict any appreciable 
injury upon the Japanese, who had them under cross-fire. 
They therefore had no alternative but retreat. 

At dawn I lighted a fire with my remaining match, made 
some coffee, ate the small remnant of my stores, and went 
back to Su-chia-t'un. I found very confused reports regard- 
ing the capture of Pootiloff. It was not precisely known 
what had taken place. The sacrifice had been so great that 
the achievement was never mentioned, and the subject 
seemed to have been officially tabooed. A train of artillery 
ammunition arrived from Harbin and began to discharge 
its cargo at Su-chia-t'un. In the evening, as the staff of the 
Western Army was leaving its position on the railway below 
Su-chia-t'un, it was again shelled by the Japanese, with long- 
range guns. As four shells dropped in quick succession near 
us, an officer remarked that the Japanese must have at least 
four long-range guns, perhaps nine or ten versts in range. 
This was the range of the Russian field-guns, of which the 

312 



Destruction of the Russian Offensive 

Japanese had taken more than forty in this battle, together 
with twice that number taken in previous battles. 

During the day Kouropatkin was not able to utilize the 
Pootiloff-Novogorod Hill in such a way as to dislodge the 
Japanese artillery, which was still breaking shrapnel within 
a mile or two of Pai-t'a-p'u. In the afternoon the troops 
in the hamlets there were digging themselves into the ground 
and preparing a strong position. The battle, however, was 
over. It closed on the ninth day, after a tenacious defense 
of five days, at the end of which the Japanese appeared no 
longer disposed to contest the Sha-ho, where they had a good 
position. Kouropatkin, though he had been compelled to 
fall back before the Japanese, had narrowly saved his boast 
that he would no longer retreat, and he too was content to 
suspend the contention on the Sha-ho and go into winter 
quarters. The line of contact on the east was seven miles 
north of the point where the Eastern Army had attacked 
the Japanese, losing between eight and nine thousand men. 
On the west the line was ten miles north of where the 
Western Army had attacked. Although the Russians 
had been steadily pushed back and had lost the battle of 
the Sha-ho, they had captured a total of seventeen guns, 
of which three had been taken by the Ural Cossacks. Accord- 
ing to their own reports they had lost to the Japanese twenty- 
seven guns. The expenditure of ammunition had exceeded 
all calculations. On the Russian side the expenditure was so 
great on the fourteenth that a dispatch of troops from Har- 
bin was delayed to forward ammunition. For several days 
the Japanese fired sparingly, indicating that they had ex- 
hausted their own ammunition supply. At the same time 
they held the Russians to a bitter day-to-day resistance and 
continued to test their center and right flank. At the close 
of the seventeenth the losses had exceeded those of all the 
fighting around Liao-yang. It was another disaster to the 

313 



The Tragedy of Russia 



Government and to Kouropatkin, who had promised an 
advance, and it was a great defeat of his army. The Japa- 
nese had advanced ten miles nearer to Mukden, and had 
made the future task of taking that place easier by reducing 
the distance which they would have to go in reaching it, to a 
day's march. 



3*4 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

THE ARMY BASE IN WINTER 

MUKDEN never in its history was so busy as dur- 
ing the winter of 1904-5. From dawn to dark 
the streets were filled with traffic, and in the most 
bitter weather they were as busy as the Manchurians would 
have had them at their most favored season. Almost every 
article of Chinese trade was purchased by the Russians, and 
persons of wealth paid very large prices to the Chinese for 
their products, and especially for so-called objects of art, 
which became the vogue. The silver workers did an immense 
business, making buttons for the officers' uniforms and semi- 
foreign jewlery. Mukden, being a large center for furs, 
while unable to export, received at retail unusual prices, espe- 
cially for its choice skins. All its cotton goods it sold out- 
right for clothing for the soldiers, while its cheap furs were 
manufactured into Russian busbys and coats. It is probable 
that the trade in furs and cottons exceeded that carried on 
under normal conditions. 

As the Chinese only require protection and order to keep 
them active traders, Mukden, under a native and foreign 
police system, was for Manchuria a model mart. At its 
gates lawlessness virtually ceased. While just outside its 
walls hamlets and villages were desolated, it was rarely that 
a home within was molested. The Russian soldier, how- 
ever, extended in the form of pilferings the predatory depre- 
dations he had practiced in camp. The visiting moujik 
wandered through the streets filching peanuts and Chinese 
comfits, and became the despair of the Chinese tradesman 

315 



The Tragedy of Russia 



and even of the military police. The disgusted Chinese 
shopmen contented themselves with a very mild revenge. 
They allowed their underlings to call the soldiers " Hung- 
hu-tzus," which, in this case, was an epithet of supreme 
contempt. A good idea of the revengeful character of the 
Chinese and his power to endure the things that be can be 
gained from this. The Russian soldier, charmed by the 
wonders of the Manchurian capital, wandered through the 
streets until the last minute, and, though he was often a 
nuisance to the Chinese, I do not remember ever to have 
seen one maltreated by them, and only once did I hear the 
epithet " foreign devil V applied to him openly, and then by 
children. 

The machinery of native government at Mukden was 
formidable, and the native interests were so large that they 
were never entirely overridden, as at Liao-yang and other 
cities. Between them, the provincial administration, headed 
by the Tartar general, and the Russian civil and military 
administrations — which were generally at loggerheads with 
each other — the people received a fair measure of protection, 
and when the Russian army at last receded, the city on the 
whole retained a large measure of Russian wealth. 

The Chinese found the Russians corrupt like themselves, 
and discussed ways of dealing with them, of w T hich they com- 
plained, but which they were able perfectly to understand. 
At the beginning of December the exactions made by the 
Russian troops guarding the gates of the city became such 
a scandal and were complained of so seriously by the Tartar 
general that troops of the Fourteenth Division of the Eighth 
European Corps, which were said to be the best type of 
Russian troops, were detailed by the general staff to take 
the place of the Siberian troops, of whom the Chinese com- 
plained. An opinion of the Siberian troops may be formed 
from the fact that they carried on a systematic squeezing on 

316 



The Army Base in Winter 



all purely Chinese traffic entering the city gates. Their 
depredations in this form so closely followed Chinese prac- 
tice as to call for no particular resistance. It was only when 
the cupidity of the soldiers was excited that, at intervals, 
they overreached themselves and became robbers. They 
were not so clever as the Chinese and much less capable of 
self-restraint. These remarks do not apply to the lawless 
elements of the Russian army, which, on account of the 
robber proclivities of the race, got the name of " Cauca- 
sian." The Russians proper were most frequently the 
victims of this element. In the railway settlement the 
authorities posted notices that persons wishing to carry arms 
must wear Russian clothes. The effect of this was the 
depriving of Caucasians of their arms at the army base. 
Numbers of this race were sent to the prisons at Saghalen. 
Their ill-fame was a byword in Mukden, and their land, 
the Caucasus, was spoken of as a land of footpads, kid- 
nappers and assassins. On the first of December in front 
of the Russian prison, near the Tartar general's yamen, were 
eight of these men disarmed and surrounded by a guard 
drawn up in the street, ready to be taken north to prison. 
It was said in the street that they had revolted and that their 
leader had been shot. 

Under all the embarrassments of Russian military domina- 
tion the even trend of city life was little disturbed. The 
people celebrated their festivals, civil and religious. These 
were in fact welcomed and encouraged by the army, as they 
added cheer and entertainment to it in its exile. 

On the thirteenth of November began a three-days' cele- 
bration by the Chinese of the Empress Dowager's birthday. 
Against the Drum Tower and the Bell Tower, which are 
the main features of the streets of all Chinese capitals, large 
shrines were erected over the archways leading through these 
towers, enclosing tablets inscribed with the characters " Wan- 

317 



The Tragedy of Russia 



shou," which, like " Ban-zai," means " ten thousand ages." 
These shrines were hung with beautiful lanterns, and before 
the tablets were placed food offerings and incense. Hun- 
dreds of fancy lanterns and transparencies, bearing congratu- 
latory inscriptions, were hung out by the shops in the main 
streets. It was curious to find shortly after these decorations 
were completed that the streets were all deserted, for not 
even on such an occasion do the Chinese venture out at night. 
After a few admiring looks at their beautiful handiwork, 
and its bewitching effect by night, they disappeared behind 
the shutters and barricaded the doors of their shops and 
houses, as though they had expected some Oriental Godiva in 
their picturesque streets. 

The visitor riding through these solemn aisles might 
easily imagine himself in an enchanted land and feel himself 
transported to the opposite pole. Not even the flight of a 
Cossack messenger with his skirts whipping against his 
boots could dissolve the vision. 

On the sixteenth, it being the seventy-first birthday of the 
Empress Dowager of China, the streets were filled w T ith 
flags and streamers. The Tartar general and territorial 
officials visited the ancestral palace in the deserted Forbidden 
City and performed the ceremony of kowtowing before the 
Dowager's tablet. At all the dynastic shrines about " China's 
Second Capital " prayers were said for ten days. The 
expenses of the birthday celebration were subscribed by the 
native guilds. 

Coming at such a time this demonstration had a peculiar 
significance. The officials of the five Boards and the Tartar 
general, whose functions were nearly annulled, were mourn- 
ing over the condition of the Empire and condoling with 
each other over the embarrassment of their situation. They 
were awaiting from year to year the promised restoration of 
their functions, but in the end saw the country turned over 

3i8 






The Army Base in Winter 



to warring invaders. From Peking they received private 
advice warning them that the Emperor was increasingly 
inane, sickly, and insignificant; that the Dowager was thinner 
and older, perfunctory in her foreign relations and omitting 
former courtesies. The old age of the Empress Dowager 
coinciding with an era of pressing foreign complications 
promised a season of bitterness. This prospect was relieved 
by one hope. A new but corrupt Board of War had been 
established in Peking. It was a sorry promise for the future, 
for it may be said that war is indeed to a Chinese the very 
last hope. 

The crime against humanity in Manchuria was not, 
strictly speaking, the result of the contact between Eastern 
and Western civilization, for the reason that the main par- 
ties concerned were innocent victims. China was incompe- 
tent in Manchuria, but not necessarily criminal, and the 
Chinese were the victims of a crime due to Russian conquest 
and not far removed from that of human slavery. 

The Tartar general was a good-natured man and fully 
equal to the exercise of a wide hospitality demanded of him. 
His influence did not extend much beyond the walls of the 
City of Mukden, but at least three sacred places outside of 
the city of which he was the responsible custodian were 
respected by the Russian army. One of these places was 
the Eastern Tombs at Fu-ling; another, the Northern 
Tombs; and the third, the Imperial Temples and Confucian 
Temple outside the west gate. 

As custodian of Imperial property he entertained thou- 
sands of visitors to the Forbidden City in Mukden, and to 
the Imperial Tombs. In the Forbidden City were still many 
valuable and interesting relics of Manchuria's last Emper- 
ors. The Imperial Temple, the Throne, and some buildings 
that had been occupied by the Imperial family were still in 
a good state of preservation and excited the wonder of visi- 

319 



The Tragedy of Russia 



tors. There were no eunuchs as at Peking, but the Tartar 
general's subordinates escorted strangers over the premises. 
A valuable library had been taken from the city by the Rus- 
sians in 1900, and placed in the Imperial University in St. 
Petersburg, and in all probability this act will be charged up 
against Russia in China's future dealings with her. There 
were many valuable art objects stored in the Forbidden City, 
consisting of porcelain, jade, books, and paintings. The 
groves of the Imperial Tombs were far removed from the 
traffic of the city streets and were resorted to for rest and 
recreation. Between the Northern Tombs and the Yellow 
Temple was a " quei-kung " (Chinese mortuary) where the 
dead were kept for a period, sometimes even for years, in 
heavy wooden coffins on the ground (frequently protected 
by light vaults of brick) until a time for burial counted 
favorable or lucky by the Chinese. When the cold came and 
the army was hard pressed for shelter, the little Chinese 
house of the keeper and watchman of these premises was 
pre-empted by soldiers who quartered horses in the door 
plot, and from day to day hacked up the coffins for fuel and 
lived in the sunshine and wind and dust amid a congregation 
of an hundred corpses in all stages of decay. 

At the Yellow Temple outside the West Gate where the 
Lama Buddhists of Mongolia held their solemn services 
and incantations, great crowds of soldiers and officers 
gathered. At their services soldiers belonging to the Tartar 
tribe came to worship. A Star Festival was held, when the 
constellations were worshiped by incantations, the burning 
of incense and the explosion of fireworks. In the height of 
this performance w r hen the fireworks had gotten well under 
way and all the Lamas were standing about enjoying the 
spectacle, the Russian guards rushed in and arrested the poor 
novices who were attending to the fireworks. It turned out 
that they were afraid that the forage w T hich thev possessed 

320 



The Army Base in Winter 



in large stores in the Temple compounds was in danger of 
fire. 

The celebration of the Animal Dance, a ceremony surviv- 
ing the ancient nature worship, fell on a brilliant, sunny day, 
and was the event of the winter in the Chinese life of Muk- 
den, so far as the foreigners were concerned. 

At the Chinese New Year, the Chinese women are per- 
mitted by custom to dress in their choice finery and to parade 
in public, a ceremony which greatly pleased the foreigners 
who were thus able to get a view of native life they could 
not get at any other time. 

The Dragon Festival took the form of a parade by a 
society which makes it a business to carry an image of this 
sacred legendary animal fifty to a hundred feet in length, 
each year through the streets, collecting tribute from the 
merchants to whom the presence of the Dragon brings suc- 
cess for the year. 

When the trees were naked and all the bloom of summer 
gone, the dust seemed to increase and swept along in great 
clouds over the gray-black roofs of the city. The bleakness 
of the earth was only relieved by the glorifying sky. The 
cold sometimes became intense, and the wayfarer bundled 
in winter wrappings rode, partly carried by his horse, 
partly blown by the wind, through the crooked streets ap- 
proaching the inner city. If he passed around by the moat, 
he traversed at the southwest corner of the wall an area 
over which were scattered the skinned carcasses of dogs. 
Some flung into the moat were frozen in the ice, with occa- 
sionally here and there one in a lifelike attitude as though 
its spirit was just a little way above its head and still con- 
juring it to free itself from the crows pulling at its seared 
and naked frame. It was a picture of Manchuria. Beyond 
this was waste ground, abandoned to garbage. 

If the wayfarer took the route through the South Gate 

321 



The Tragedy of Russia 



he found himself in a jam of traffic, besieged by carts and 
wagons and by native vendors. The scene here was ani- 
mated, brilliant, and barbaric, and it took half an hour to 
pass through the main street and reach the foreign quarter 
inside the South Gate, where the Russian hotel, the bank, the 
native post-office were located, and also the native inns in 
which one could always find companions of his own 
nationality. 

In such a visit one might gather some knowledge of what 
the Eastern Empire meant to Mukden. All the caravan 
traffic of normal times suspended; the city surrendered to a 
foreign military holding its gates and parading its streets 
and keeping a surveillance over its proud dignitaries; an 
uncertain communication with Peking, and yet more uncer- 
tain traffic in contraband merchandise, over one solitary 
highway — the Hsin-min-t'un road; a lavish expenditure of 
Russian paper money of a constantly depreciating value ; an 
uncertain destiny, and an immediate danger from a great 
army whose forerunners had already struck terror from 
Port Arthur to Blagovetschensk four years before — for it 
was not known, and the Chinese hardly dared to contemplate, 
what would become of the city in case of a desperate battle 
there. 

While the Russians were waiting for a battle they did not 
neglect to enjoy themselves. In the foreign quarter, inside 
the South Gate, were several up-to-date bakeries and shops 
where fine food could be bought. Liquors could be had 
everywhere and in quantity. From the South Gate through 
the city to the railway station were scattered food shops 
and restaurants. Around the West Gate and in the buildings 
of the temples outside, and in all the plain surrounding the 
settlement, were officers' quarters to which men resorted 
with their comrades and beguiled the weary weeks of exile. 
Near the railway station the Economic Society had its stores 

322 



The Army Base in Winter 



of officers' supplies displayed in railway carriages and on the 
ground beside the tracks. Here the officers and soldiers 
were waited upon according to lot, and stood throughout the 
day in long lines waiting their turn. A visit to the " Eco- 
nomica " was one of the events of the soldier's life in Man- 
churia. The officers' day at Mukden would consist of shop- 
ping at the " Economica," a jaunt through the streets of the 
native city, with purchases of native trinkets, dinner at a 
restaurant or at the station buffet, and a game of Piquet, 
and the night's carouse, if he happened to fall in with 
friends. In the minds of those who participated in the Rus- 
sian campaign must long endure the memory of winter days 
in Mukden — days of icy streets, dust, outlandish traffic ; and 
nights of gambling, rumor, work, lawlessness, and rude but 
welcome comfort. 



323 



CHAPTER XXIX 



LIFE ON THE SHA-HO 



ON the morning of the eighteenth of October the 
Grand Army did not appear to expect any further 
fighting until it could recuperate. Kouropatkin 
had decided to rest, and the army had decided that therefore 
the Japanese would rest. Considering that Oyama and the 
commanders before him had, during the whole war, been 
running the show, the confidence they thus ingenuously re- 
posed in their own chief was nearly amusing. For the moment 
they forgot Kouropatkin's bombastic proclamation of a 
fortnight before. Many of them took occasion to get drunk, 
which was indeed a sincere celebration of the restoration of 
quiet. 

In the afternoon at the headquarters of the Western Army 
several of the officers were ill from the effects of their liba- 
tions. Notwithstanding their terrible headaches, stomach- 
aches, fevers, and loss of appetite, they were exuberant and 
very kind. They were all in bed. One, a doctor, hearing 
a donkey braying, cried with great effort, " Ban-zai," and 
then all laughed. I spent the night on some straw in the 
only vacant corner of the room and went to sleep while they 
were still laughing at their joke and bandying jests. 

At 8 130 on the morning of the nineteenth I left the West- 
ern Army and started to cross to the east to see the entire 
position in which the army was now installed. South of 
Pai-t'a-p'u, where, on the seventeenth, the soldiers had dug 
themselves into the ground, it was now quiet. Only an occa- 
sional gun could be heard. From behind Pootiloff and 

3 2 4 



Life on the Sha-ho 



Novogorod soldiers could be seen gathering kao-liang be- 
tween the lines. I rode along some distance with a soldier 
who was going out with a horse to bring back a load of 
fodder, and we passed a dead Chinese who had been lately 
killed. The soldiers sometimes ventured very close to the 
Japanese lines. In some places the grain was all gathered 
away and the soldiers of the two armies often arrived within 
hailing distance while foraging and learned not to fire on 
each other when on a peaceful mission. For the most part 
the marks of battle had been cleared away between Pootiloff 
and the Pagoda Hill at Er-ta-kou. Pagoda Hill was quiet 
and the garrison there had dug themselves caves in the earth. 

Farther east, at the little Village of Wa-tzu-yu, I found a 
hospitable family of Chinese. As I approached their house 
a Caucasian Cossack was chasing a pig in the street, and 
having failed to kill it with his saber he used that weapon 
to beat an old man and to threaten an old woman, both so 
aged and frail that they could hardly walk, and who were 
trying to escape by clinging to a mud wall at the side of the 
street to aid them in hobbling along. It was an excellent 
example of the deadly parallel : here was a complete savage 
harassing two perfectly innocent and perfectly helpless speci- 
mens of a civilization whose dominant idea is reverence for 
the aged. When I arrived at the spot and stopped, the Cos- 
sack desisted and rode away. As an illustration of the warlike 
qualifications of the Caucasian it bears out the opinion held 
in other parts of the army that they are those of the outlaw 
and robber. 

On the twentieth I reached the Eastern Army, passing 
through Keng-ta-jen-shan (Kandolisan) in the morning, and 
arriving at the mountain position at Pien-chia-p'u-tzu at 
noon. The Japanese were making some demonstrations in 
the valley beyond, and the Russian infantry was moving 
about in the crevices of the mountains of their position, and 

325 



The Tragedy of Russia 



while I was resting on the mountainside, a battery took up 
its position commanding the opposite side of the valley. 
The line was divided at this point by a short rifle range 
and the soldiers complained of continual sniping going on. 
Pien-chia-p'u-tzu was the apex of a triangle around which 
the Japanese were facing the Russians for fifteen miles. Be- 
yond this position of the Eastern Army, the line was defined 
by the pass of Kao-t'ou-ling and Ta-ling in the far east. The 
pressing question of going into winter quarters was speedily 
solved by the weather. The cold was now already too 
great for living in tents. The troops began busily construct- 
ing earth-houses in the hillsides and in the ravines and fields, 
and in strengthening their positions to the utmost for winter 
security, began to approach each other, at Pootiloir especially, 
by siege works. The diligence of the Japanese sappers was 
such that Kouropatkin ordered the work of intrenchment in 
in his own army to be carried on day and night. Each 
morning revealed new works that had been constructed by 
both sides overnight. The armies were in plain view of 
each other from the hilltops where their observatories were 
located. From Kuan-shan and Pagoda Hill the camp-fires 
of many Japanese bivouacs could be seen. With the field- 
glasses the Japanese could be seen digging their trenches, 
dropping and picking up their tools and shifting from one 
part of the field to another. 

On the Pagoda Hill the Japanese kept almost continually 
breaking shrapnel, a few at a time. Both sides kept up a 
certain amount of artillery fire to annoy the siege operations 
of the other. 

There were several villages between the lines w T here the 
Chinese refused to be driven out, and were visited from time 
to time by both the Japanese and Russian outposts. They 
received periodical fusillades into their houses, when they 
quietly awaited a more favorable opportunity to venture into 

326 



Life on the Sha-ho 



their fields. One village in front of Pagoda Hill was, as 
though by mutual consent, never shelled by either side. 

But for the most part, in every quarter except the Pooti- 
loff-Novogorod Hill, and Lin-shen-p'u, where also the 
Russian and Japanese troops were within a few hundred 
yards of each other, the armies were constructing winter quar- 
ters. The native houses in many cases were torn down to 
prevent infection and zemlyankas — or dugouts — constructed 
of new timber, matting, and fodder. These dwellings were 
nearly invisible from the plain. 

Many of the reserve troops were permitted to utilize the 
native houses in the rear of the position, but along the posi- 
tion even the largest market towns were leveled to the 
earth, and the soldiers cut down all the trees. On a warm 
day they could be seen with broadaxes hacking down timber 
that had been the pride of the region for years, both in the 
villages and the graveyards. 

As the weeks went by and re-enforcements arrived in large 
numbers, the country had the appearance of being stricken 
with a great blight. With the first cold snap the Chinese, 
who had fled to Mukden, bethought themselves to return 
and save a part of their fodder-fuel, and even of their crops. 
But they found these, in many cases, already gathered up by 
the soldiers. The region became a desert, dotted with 
bivouacs in every direction, where, on a warm day, the sol- 
diers were seen lounging about camp, cooking their food, 
mending their clothing, and even bathing under the 
warm sun. 

A few Chinese just behind the line had the courage to 
remain to guard their property, but were unable to prevent the 
soldiers from carrying away their doors and windows, and 
even their wooden utensils. Their wood disappeared into 
fortifications, bridges, zemlyankas or camp-fires. Hundreds 
of families in the plain west of the railway took alarm during 

3 2 7 



The Tragedy of Russia 



the progress of the battle and fled to Mukden, hut within a 
week were able to return — many of them to their homes. 

With the soldiers working night and day the transforma- 
tion of the position very soon became complete. In a fort- 
night the soldiers relinquished their tents for dugouts, in 
w r hich they constructed many ingenious conveniences, such as 
stoves, which they built of the immense water jars found in 
the Chinese houses. In some instances tents w r ere w T alled 
up and enclosed with millet stalks, forming a house around 
the tent. In the mountains the native houses were few and 
generally remodeled for the use of the officers. In some 
large towns that were relay posts or etaphs, where markets 
were desired, the houses of the natives were protected and 
the natives induced to remain and bring in produce from 
the surrounding region for the use of the armies. The 
troops at such places took to the fields in the outskirts where 
their little zemlyanka settlements resembled the native 
Chinese graveyards with little spirals of smoke rising from 
them like the incense which the Chinese burns at the tombs 
of his ancestors. To see these mounds under a covering of 
snow, emitting smoke like miniature volcanoes, suggested to 
the mind that the dead had come to life and were enlarging 
their narrow cells into habitations and homes. 

The troops were redistributed along the line of defense, 
and when the fortifications were strong enough so that the 
line could be more easily held, the re-enforcements which 
the army was constantly receiving went into quarters in the 
rear of the position nearer the army base — some of them 
in reserve. At Pai-t'a-p'u, on the Imperial road immedi- 
ately south of Mukden, were quarters for nearly half an 
army corps. General Kouropatkin established his head- 
quarters at the Village of Chang-shang-mu-t'un, near the 
station of Ku-chia-tzu on the Fu-shun railway. In the 
vicinity large commissariat supplies were stored, and in a 

328 



Life on the Sha-ho 



village near Chang-shang-mu-t'un the headquarters field- 
hospital of the army Red Cross was established. Chang- 
shang-mu-t'un was connected with the position at Er-ta-kou 
by a wide military road such as had never before existed in 
the region. Leading to the right through Pai-t'a-p'u and 
Su-chia-t'un was a similar road connecting the extreme right 
flank, and another road connected with the southeast. A 
similar road was built from the terminus of the Fu-shun 
railway on the extreme east, up the valley of the Shi River, 
and a grade was constructed for a field railway all the way 
to Ta-ling. 

While at Pootiloff the combatants were not more than 
six hundred paces apart, in the east the cavalry of the two 
armies roamed over a region twenty-five miles in width, 
where skirmishes continued throughout the winter. The 
country was for the most part rough and wild and the scene 
of many little tragedies between scouts of both armies who 
spent much of the winter in exploration. Before winter had 
set in the cart roads were marked at frequent intervals by 
solitary graves, a cross indicating that of a Cossack, a post 
or stone that of a Japanese. One came upon lonely graves 
in the mountain passes overlooking some great expanse of 
ragged mountain, where the wind stirred the dry and 
withered wreath of wild flowers placed by the Cossacks upon 
the last resting place of a comrade. 

Manchuria is a land of sunshine, and invigorating but 
bitter winds in winter. When the snow lay on the mountains 
and the streams were frozen and the natives retired into 
their huts, the region between the two armies at this place 
was forbidding and terrible, and the otherwise quiet valleys 
were most of them the scene of some special cruelty. A Cos- 
sack trooper told of coming upon the dead body of a Japa- 
nese cavalryman at a frozen stream where he stopped to 
water his pony. For some distance the Japanese had dragged 

329 



The Tragedy of Russia 



himself through the snow, which was marked with blood, 
showing that he had been wounded, and had crawled down to 
the ice to get a drink. There he had frozen, partly raised 
upon his elbow and in one hand clasping a little photograph 
of two children. 

Such was the nature of warfare between the outposts 
over the whole line that no assistance could be rendered the 
individual who was unfortunate enough to be wounded be- 
tween the lines. At the same time truces were frequently 
made in the center where General Kouropatkin and Marshal 
Oyama exchanged communications and the Russian and 
Japanese officers fraternized over Russian and foreign 
wines. In January some officers of the Fourth Corps rode 
down to see the Japanese without even a white flag. They 
were well received, all drank Japanese saki — and drank too 
much. They had their photographs taken, and when the visit 
was finished the Japanese sent them safely back and prom- 
ised to return the call. 

At the beginning of winter water became scarce on the 
position and both armies were compelled to resort to the 
Sha-ho. Here the Japanese and Russian soldiers met and 
exchanged cigarettes and trinkets, and for the time being 
it was understood by both sides that an unarmed man was 
not to be fired on by either side. At Lin-shen-p'u, just west 
of the railway, the lines were so close together that the 
belligerents could hear each other talk. The Russian band, 
which played every day or two in the Russian trenches, was 
encored by the Japanese with shouts of u Ochin horosho ! ' 
" Horosho ruskoe ! " — Very good ! Good boys ! At the same 
time if one lifted his head above the intrenchments he was 
sure to be received with a fusillade, and occasionally the 
recreations of both sides were punctuated by the explosion of 
ground mines or a general bombardment. 

At night the Russians and Japanese rushed upon each 

330 




) 






/f&c/< 



en c 



/,' c^fort» /'o'\_ 






P 



Genera] GreikofF (autograph), who was severely criticised by Kouropatkin for 

failure to operate against Nogi in the battle of Mukden, thus depriving 

the army of valuable information of Nogi's flank attack 



r 



Life on the Sha-ho 



other's trenches, a kind of warfare that gained nothing to 
either side, but which kept both armies on the qui vive. 
Both spent weeks and months upon ingenious plans to de- 
ceive each other. When one manifestation occurred the 
entire line would be warned against attack. Any demonstra- 
tion by the enemy meant some operation in a secret place. 
On one occasion the Japanese concentrated a very heavy fire 
upon Pootiloff in the night. The Russians, suspecting that 
this was intended to cover the construction of fortifications 
which the Japanese were suspected of making on a hill of 
their own, shelled the hill and dashed forward with their 
Cossacks. They reached a Japanese battery which they 
overpowered but were unable to take before the Japanese 
were re-enforced. 

It was natural that there should be many rumors during 
the course of the winter regarding the plans and intentions 
of the enemy. They were frequently reported to be about 
ready to attack. About the time of the above incident, 
which happened in November, it was rumored that the 
Japanese intended to attack on December 6th. As if to 
anticipate this, the Russian artillery began firing in the 
morning and continued throughout the day. In addition 
to their long-range siege-guns, which were now being 
brought to the position, large mortars were used at Lin- 
shen-p'u and Pootiloff. These bombardments never had 
any important results. Following their doctrine that the 
enemy was destroyed by great masses of projectiles, the 
Russian artillery for the most part devoted itself to plane 
firing, and during the winter managed to cover with pro- 
jectiles most of the Japanese position within range of their 
artillery. The Japanese followed to a considerable extent 
the method of ebb and flow in their firing, and by this 
means covered the ground, and also without locating their 
target. In the hills the landmarks were fixed and immova- 

33 1 



The Tragedy of Russia 



hie, and distances could be gauged and targets located with 
comparative ease. In the plain on the Russian side the posi- 
tion was made into a monotonous waste. To render the 
maps obsolete, whole villages were removed and trees cut 
down so that there would be no landmarks whatever to serve 
as a guide to the enemy. Lookouts were built out of poles 
in open places in the plain so as to be almost invisible at a 
distance. The artillery was placed in pits, as were the wire 
entanglements before redoubts. While at Liao-yang re- 
doubts were raised to great heights above the ground and 
plain, they were on the Sha-ho placed as low as possible so 
as to disguise their location. 

The Japanese had several eminences on their side of the 
Sha-ho which they used to advantage and which were an 
annoyance to the Russians throughout the winter. South- 
west of Lin-shen-p'u was a raised quadrangle about twenty 
feet high, on which was the remains of a temple. It was a 
target for the Russian artillery, which could never make any 
effect upon it. At Hsu-lin-tzii, on the railway, the Japanese 
had a water tank about fifty feet high which they used as an 
observatory. It was a large object and a most exasperating 
target to the Russian artillerists, who fired at it all winter. 
Hardly a day passed that they did not take a shot at it, but 
without being able to hit it. During the winter about two 
hundred siege guns of large caliber and long range were 
added to the artillery force of the Grand Army. They were 
unloaded at Su-chia-t'un and moved by night to positions 
back of Lin-shen-p'u, and between the railway and Pootiloff. 

Artillery positions were marked out every place behind 
the lines, and at nightfall the field-guns shifted their positions 
to the rear to escape night surprises. Each morning about 
four o'clock they were moved forward again for the day. 
In November both sides began using searchlights. Each 
army was gauging its activity by that of the enemy. On 

332 



Life on the Sha-ho 



the Russian side such innovations meant that the Japanese 
re-enforcements were larger than reported, that they had 
quickened their communications, and that they were ready 
to attack. To offset the Russian strong position at Lin- 
shen-p'u, which was like a fortress, the Japanese turned Hsu- 
lin-tzii and the south bank of the Sha-ho River into one great 
redoubt. 

As soon as either side got any large guns they proceeded 
to test them upon the enemy's position. As the winter pro- 
gressed the Russians made accurate calculations of the zones 
that were in the range of the different Japanese artillery. 
In November they planted four large guns near Pootiloff 
and straightway proceeded to try them upon the Japanese 
position, partly with the idea of eliciting a response from 
any large guns the Japanese might in the meantime have 
received, but mostly to annoy them in some new place. 

Su-chia-t'un was a place whose location was accurately 
known to the Japanese because it was a railway siding. It 
was the terminal for the trains and a kind of base for the 
Western Army. By way of the old railway embankment 
leading off to the west a spur line was laid during the winter 
to Ma-tu-ran, in the direction of Chan-tan. From Su-chia- 
t'un trains also departed for that place. It was a depot for 
munitions especially, and as it was visited by many officers 
it had a restaurant where many dinners were given. As the 
range of the Japanese guns appeared to increase they were 
much discussed during the festivities at this place. One day 
when it was certain that the Japanese had had time to bring 
up some of their siege-guns from Port Arthur, some one 
solemnly announced that they could now shoot to Su-chia- 
t'un, and there was more drinking than ever. This restau- 
rant was a dugout with the roof just at the top of the ground. 
Wells were dug on the west and north for windows, which 
admitted the daylight, and at night it was lighted by smoky 

333 



The Tragedy of Russia 



lamps, but no lights were visible from the direction of the 
position. The top of the door was below the level of the 
ground and reached by a stairway cut in the earth. 

Just behind the positions a village was left intact for each 
division staff. Some of these villages became model Rus- 
sian towns. The officers brought glass from Mukden for 
the windows, made ceilings and walls, and built Russian 
stoves of brick. The Russian officers were very fond of ani- 
mal life and bought poodle dogs, guinea pigs, and birds to 
put in them. Along the position where the officers lived in 
dugouts they made floors, walls, and ceilings with the fine 
rush mats which Chinese make in such large quantities. 
These zemlyankas, or dugouts, were large enough for two 
cots and a table placed at one end opposite the door and 
under the window. They were generally flooded with sun- 
shine by day, and many of the officers had oil lamps to cheer 
the loneliness of the winter nights in their wild homes. 

Before the works of the main position were completed, 
second and third lines of defense were built in the rear. All 
forage was commandeered and more and more of the 
Chinese were crowded out of their homes as time went on 
and as the army increased in size. The Chinese learned to 
take out the timber from their houses and sell it, and 
it was pitiable to see them thus dismantling their homes 
for the mere pittance they might receive for the timber. It 
induced Kouropatkin to forbid the destruction of more 
houses by either the Chinese or the soldiers, but the order 
was not obeyed. 

An order was put in force that no Chinese could go south 
across the Hun River in the plain, and, although a few were 
permitted to remain in their houses by ingratiating them- 
selves with the officers, it was only rarely in that region that 
a Chinese could be seen. Occasionally at a distance a blue- 
cotton-clothed figure might be seen bending down gathering 

334 



Life on the Sha-ho 



fuel. But the acme of desolation seemed to be reached when 
the Russian soldiers turned out in the fields to gather for 
fuel the very stubble of the crops which the Chinese had left, 
and the weeds that had grown between. 

The branch railways were connected with the position 
by field railways, known as Decauville railways. One of 
these connected a magazine on the Ma-tu-ran line, just west 
of Su-chia-t'un, with the heavy artillery behind Lin-shen- 
p'u, to which place it transported ammunition and stores. 
The Ma-tu-ran Railway intersected Su-hu-chia-p'u. and was 
finally extended to Ma-tu-ran, which was the center of 
several strong positions on the Hun River protecting Muk- 
den. The region during the winter was the scene of numer- 
ous remarkable exploits on the part of the Japanese cavalry. 
It was not uncommon for the army to wake up upon a bright 
morning and find a Japanese scouting party in some aban- 
doned village far inside their lines. The Fifty-second Dra- 
goons, not far from Su-hu-chia-p'u encountered and captured 
one of these parties, consisting of three privates and an officer, 
but not until the officer and one private were killed, when 
the two remaining privates had no longer any power to 
resist. The Dragoons were so impressed with the bravery 
of the Japanese officer that they carried his body to their 
camp and buried it beside some old Chinese monuments and 
placed an inscription over it in three languages. An officer 
who led me to this spot explained that should the Japanese 
take the position from them they would be able to identify the 
remains. This was at a time when the fame of the Japanese 
as chivalrous victors had percolated the whole army. 

At Ma-tu-ran one of the veteran cavalry generals, 

Greikoff, was stationed. With him was General , 

who had never been able to conquer his antipathy to the Japa- 
nese. He was a most wonderful comrade, and not the 
least interesting of his talents was his ability to mimic the 

335 



The Tragedy of Russia 



ways of the Japanese. He could almost impersonate them, 
though he was a very tall man with blond whiskers. It 
was very funny, especially in view of the fact that he had 
always been unmercifully trounced by the Japanese and, 
as I will describe later, participated in some of the greatest 
misfortunes which the army endured in the battle of Muk- 
den. He was one of the best examples I had met of a man 
actuated by race patriotism or prejudice. Men of this type 
wherever found are among the very best of men, and go 
farther in the solution of difficulties between races than the 
men whose prejudices remain to be created. In all the 
Russian army I was not able to identify more than one man 
who at the end of the war professed contempt for the 
Japanese. He had lived in Japan as an officer of his gov- 
ernment, but his views were so unwelcome among his fel- 
lows toward the end of the war that it was an unpleasant 
matter to express them. 

General , with his Orenberg Cossacks, had car- 
ried out some daring expeditions in the rear of the Japanese 
left, and succeeded in damaging the Japanese railway. At 
his headquarters were several doctors and medical students 
whose mess we visited in the evening and then dined at the 
staff mess at noon the following day. There seemed to have 
been special preparations, which was surprising, considering 
that their guest was only a<passing visitor. I was given a 
place of honor at their long mess table and just opposite the 
headquarters chaplain who, of course, was a priest of the 
Orthodox Church, wearing long hair and a rich brow r n cas- 
sock. He was a man with a very benevolent face and a kind 
eye, and not at all an abstainer. Among my medical 
acquaintances of the day before was one very clownish 
surgeon who kept the table in roars of laughter. Consider- 
ing the misfortunes of the campaign, their exile in a strange 
land, their distresses at home, and the conflicting convictions 

336 



Life on the Sha-ho 



which they held, their good-fellowship was remarkable. It 
was not long until we all separated. I cannot help but think 
that they owed nothing to me and that I shall perhaps 
always remain obliged to them through a debt which I can 
never pay, unless they can feel that an expression of grati- 
tude and the testimony of pleasant memories in a mere book 
can compensate them for their hospitality. 

General was very proud of his camp, which he 

explained in detail, and on the following morning when I 
started away he accompanied me to say good-by to General 
Greikoff and then rode with me a couple of miles out of 
camp. He was very proud of a white Arabian charger 
which he had, all of whose points and characteristics he knew 
and pointed out with the enthusiasm of a cadet. 

Farther west, with his headquarters at San-t'ai-tzu, was 
General Kossakovsky with a cavalry force guarding the 
region between the Hun and the Liao rivers. This was the 
force that shortly became a division under General Mis- 
chenko. The region here, like all of western Manchuria, 
contained many fortified hamlets and villages. There were 
many detached houses, hardly deserving the name of ham- 
lets, but every important family had its premises walled like 
a miniature city. These enclosures were square with look- 
outs at the corners and sometimes towers with connecting 
passages along the inside of the walls where watchmen could 
pass from one tower to the other. In some cases moats sur- 
rounded these compounds and the entrance was guarded by 
two pairs of heavy wooden doors. The outer doors led into 
a court where carts and implements were sometimes kept; 
and the second opened into the stables, granary, and the 
dwellings themselves. 

The country people in these regions are often persecuted 
by thieves, which partly accounts for these attempts to make 
themselves secure. But the depredations carried on both by 

337 



The Tragedy of Russia 



the Boxers and the Russian troops in 1900 and the years of 
occupation following, account for a large part of these 
walled hamlets. As a matter of fact the people are very 
peaceful, and being easily plundered, invite depredations. 
Especially in recent years, when foreign traders have at in- 
tervals introduced foreign arms, the people in the valley 
close to the Liao River have been victimized by the worst 
elements, who are always in such countries the first to profit 
by the introduction of firearms. 

The country was rich in forage and the army position 
was not extended beyond the Hun in such a way as to 
interfere with the Chinese remaining in their homes. The 
Cossacks inhabited it almost unmolested by the Japanese, 
who only ventured in small scouting parties into the region 
by night, disappearing often to the far north and returning 
in the same mysterious way. An occasional pitched battle 
occurred where the Japanese were found to take shelter in 
a village, but was not often carried to a conclusion. These 
were days of rest for the armies. The Japanese formed 
their position with a convex line to the enemy, not venturing 
far on either flank. The Russian army kept a concave 
front slightly enclosing the Japanese position, and having 
a cavalry of superior numbers, were able to guard their 
flanks with ease. 

The most interesting defenses in the Russian position 
were at the Pagoda Hill, the Pootiloff-Novogorod Hill, and 
at Lin-shen-p'u. At Lin-shen-p'u long zigzag trenches led 
to the main redoubt on the very bank of the Sha and ended 
among the wreck of the buildings. The two positions 
were so close that during the winter each antagonist carried 
on mining operations to blow up the other's redoubts. 

The rear of the hill of Novogorod was so precipitous that 
the zemlyankas were one above another in such a way that 
the roof of one formed the doorstep of the one above it. 

338 



Life on the Sha-ho 



The garrison there dwelt virtually in caves. The southern 
face of the hill sloped gently toward the enemy and was 
zigzagged with trenches leading three or four hundred 
yards down the slope toward similar trenches of the Japa- 
nese. In this most advanced position throughout the winter 
the Russian riflemen toyed with the Japanese sharpshooters 
by setting up dummy soldiers for them to shoot at, so well 
constructed that with a powerful glass they could not be 
distinguished from men. The Japanese no doubt did the 
same. But these frolics by days were varied by frequent 
bombardments which were persistently breaking up their 
earthworks, and also by bayonet charges by night, when 
they temporarily turned each other out of their trenches. 

The Pagoda Hill was as precipitous as Novogorod. 
Pootiloff, called by the Japanese " Lone Tree Hill," because 
of a solitary tree that stood there throughout the war, was 
a large round-top hill, the southern front of which was 
criss-crossed with defenses of every nature. A road led 
across the Sha from the north into the crevices of the hill 
where the army soup wagons drove to feed the soldiers. 
So many shells of all kinds fell at this place that the ground 
was never at any time entirely cleared of them. The shell 
of a shrapnel projectile does not always burst, but when 
the shrapnel bullets are discharged from it, occasionally falls 
to the ground an empty cylinder. It was intended that these 
should be kept gathered up, but as one rode along in the 
crevices and on the road just behind the hill these shells could 
be seen scattered everywhere. The men remained close to 
their defenses, but a warm sunny day would bring them all 
out, and they could be seen sitting in the works mending their 
clothes and playing games. 

Where the trenches crossed the backs of the ridges the 
soldiers kept carefully below the surface, but in the crevices 
and ravines, where high breastworks were built, deeply 

339 



The Tragedy of Russia 



faced with brush entanglements and barbed wire, they 
paraded with their shoulders above the parapet, though 
they were generally invisible against the hill background. 
In these trenches the men received many head and hand 
wounds while firing their rifles, which were kept lying, with 
bayonets fixed, thickly along the top of the parapet. The 
men lived in bomb-proofs underneath. 

On the very pinnacle of Novogorod the officers had their 
zemlyanka lookout. It was a little lower than the summit 
of Pootiloff, but commanded a precisely similar view of 
the Japanese position, which was a slope of monotonous 
fallow land leaping up to the dim distance. Only such 
movements as the Japanese evidently desired to make known 
were ever to be seen by day throughout their zone. Any 
phenomena in the Japanese position immediately excited in 
the Russian lookout an inspection of the entire region. 
Here were stationed not only the officers of the troops in 
the fortifications, but the officers of the artillery scattered 
in the plain. The business of war at this part of the posi- 
tion became one of exciting speculation. There w T ere no 
less than two officers at all times in the lookout, framing 
reports, telephoning to their commanders, and working out 
the problems of the position. Though it w T as impossible 
in a military sense to relax their vigilance, these officers 
received the visitor with evident interest. They would step 
out in the embrasure and point out the enemy's position, 
though at times every moment spent outside of a bomb- 
proof was a moment of anxiety, and some of the officers 
serving in this post showed the anxiety in their faces. 
Between four thousand and five thousand soldiers had been 
killed and wounded at this spot before the opening of the 
battle of Mukden. It may be said that the slopes here, 
where the Russians now had their intrenchments, had run 
with blood, and there was a high daily average of killed and 

340 



Life on the Sha-ho 



wounded at this part of the position throughout the entire 
winter. 

At the time the Pootiloff-Novogorod position was taken 
from the Japanese the Russian commanders in the fight 
quarreled over the spoil. Pootiloff's partisans claimed the 
right to name the " Lone Tree Hill," while their opponents 
declared that General Pootiloff was not present at the 
battle. It was attempted to compromise upon the name 
" Mamalon," that of an officer who distinguished himself 
in the action. General Pootiloff was transferred to Vladi- 
vostok, where he was given the command of two regiments 
of the fortress troops, and his opponents in the fight to 
recapture Pootiloff asserted that he had been removed from 
the army of the south for incompetency. The hill, how- 
ever, took its name from him notwithstanding that Mama- 
Ion was a colonel who had lost his life. 

It is difficult to realize with what intense relief dawn 
was welcomed by the tenants of this position. At dark 
pickets were sent out toward the Japanese lines to positions 
that had been selected during the day, and under the cover 
of night the most diabolical strategies were put in operation. 
The pickets disappeared and were supposed to be occasion- 
ally captured by the Japanese, though later in the winter an 
occasional body could be seen pulled about by homeless 
dogs between the lines. Several times during the winter 
the Japanese assaulted the position during the night, while 
the Russian defenders retaliated with bayonet charges 
from which they hoped and claimed great results, never 
fully realized. Dawn brought relief and rest. When the 
night lifted and the remaining pickets returned to the citadel 
the feelings of the soldiers and their commanders must have 
been something like the feelings of the men of the garri- 
sons at Port Arthur, who were invested in the same way. 

The officers were worried about the Port Arthur artil- 

341 



The Tragedy of Russia 



lery, whose arrival was due, and which they were anxious 
to locate. Its strength was only fully known at the begin- 
ning of the battle of Mukden, when it was found to consist 
of a battery of eleven-inch siege guns commanding not only 
Pootiloff and Novogorod, but Kuan-shan, Er-ta-kou and 
the Pagoda Hill. This was the only respect in which the 
Japanese position was more formidable than the Russian. 
The Russian facilities for defense were complete. The 
vast and intricate works in front of the Japanese were 
connected with the main line railway traversing the entire 
rear of the army at the Hun by more than three hundred 
kilometers of the Decauville lines. Each army corps had 
one of these lines over which it carried ammunition and 
stores, and during the battle that followed conveyed the 
wounded to the hospital trains kept standing opposite Fu- 
shun, Chang-shang-mu-t'un (Kouropatkin's headquarters), 
Su-chia-t'un and Ma-tu-ran. 

Back of Pagoda Hill was the hill Kuan-shan where the 
officers of the Fourth Corps and of General Kouropatkin's 
staff sometimes gathered in crowds on a bright day to watch 
the wonderful phenomena of the position where the two 
great armies were watching each other with such vigilance, 
and awaiting the passing of winter. Mounted on a tripod 
on the crest of the hill was one of those powerful binocles, 
erected there to reveal the enemy's flagstaffs and horsemen, 
and any other object of importance within fifteen miles, 
and through it the officers took turns in inspecting the posi- 
tion. It was frequently turned upon Pootiloff and Novo- 
gorod to see the effect of the enemy's shells there, which 
might be at the time throwing up great clouds of dust. 
Behind Kuan-shan in a village of the same name was the 
Fourth Corps base. At the bottom of the hill the engineers 
had a depot where were piled up quantities of scaling imple- 
ments, chevaux-de-frise, barbed wire, and other engineers' 

342 



Life on the Sha-ho 



supplies. The place had several shops run by sutlers, and a 
restaurant similar to the one at Su-chia-t'un. There was a 
central telegraph which communicated with every part of 
the position and was the main station between Ta-ling and 
the Liao River, collecting and communicating endless reports 
to the commander-in-chief five miles in the rear. The 
commissariat stores, officers' quarters, and a garrison of 
two or three companies filled up the native building, and a 
few artillery parks were stationed in the fields on the out- 
skirts. A road led from the village over a little pass on 
the hill Kuan-shan and the Pagoda Hill on the right, 
descended into the valley of the Sha-ho and led back of 
the foothills guarded by Mischenko to the position of the 
Eastern Army. A number of the foreign military agents 
lived at Kuan-shan, where they had their international mess. 

The monotony of life in the cantonments was enlivened 
by certain festivals and what the British would call gym- 
kanas. The mounted troops held race meetings, and the 
men and soldiers of all branches of the army held gymnastic 
contests, especially intended to make the men cheerful, and 
followed them with festivities and amusing theatricals. 

The soldiers were without sufficient clothing and suffered 
many hardships during the winter, sometimes having only 
one meal daily, and compelled to bivouac on occasion in 
the ice and snow. The winter on the Sha-ho more than the 
summer campaign in the mud and rains showed the valuable 
military qualities of patience and hardihood of the Russian 
soldiers. They collected and stored all the crops which 
the Chinese had left behind in the fields, conserved the food 
and fuel found in the villages, and received with resignation 
the Chinese-made cotton clothing in lieu of new woolen 
uniforms expected from the " Little Father," who would 
have been glad to supply them had he been able to do so. 
Periodically the army received gifts from the Empress. 

343 



The Tragedy of Russia 



These consisted of food, clothing and comfits, uniformh 
distributed among the officers and men. 

The arrival of the Manchurian Army Viestnik from 
Mukden, received daily at the corps headquarters, could 
hardly be called an event, although this was the official 
organ of the commander-in-chief. The paper was regarded 
among many of the officers as " a droll sheet," for it con- 
tained only such dispatches as the general staff considered 
suitable to the common soldier, and its department of news 
was chronically poverty-stricken. It was usually printed 
on Chinese paper, but whether on Chinese or Russian paper, 
one side was as a rule left blank. Officers who had waited 
sometimes weeks for their home mail, anxious to know the 
opinions of the outside world, and the result of the riots 
at home, would turn the sheet over and wonder what the 
censor had excluded. The Harbin and Vladivostok papers 
contained stories of the battlefield; but the arrival of home 
papers and letters bearing news of the revolution, and 
giving the Government's attitude toward the continuation 
of the war, was an event most anxiously anticipated. 

But the moujik, or volunteer, or officer, most to be envied, 
was he who received a box from home. Comfits and deli- 
cacies such as these boxes contained were not to be obtained 
in Manchuria, except with great difficulty at Harbin or 
Vladivostok. The arrival and the opening was an event. If 
it did not contain vodka it called for its benediction, and 
a celebration in honor of the arrival took place. It was 
seldom that an officer so favored failed to call his comrades 
about him and to lavish his treasures upon them. It was a 
period of personal exploit and adventure for a few, but of 
monotonous routine for the body of the army. 

In the beginning of November Kouropatkin was made 
commander-in-chief of all the naval and land forces, and 
signified his acceptance of his new responsibilities by the 

344 



Life on the Sha-no 



adoption of a special headquarters flag, which excited an 
interest immediately eclipsed by the excitement over the 
North Sea incident, in which the Baltic Fleet en route to 
restore the sea power of the Eastern Empire attacked the 
British fishing fleet in the North Sea. The adventures of 
this fleet, under Rodjestvensky, from the moment it set sail 
until the battle of the Sea of Japan, when it disappeared, 
and for long after, was the main theme of interest. Poems 
by officers of the fleet describing the patriotism of the crews 
and forecasting future victory were printed in the Manchu- 
rian Army Viestnik. The continued resistance of Port 
Arthur inspired some with the belief that Rodjestvensky's 
fleet might recover the honor of the navy. 

The diversions of the common soldier were very simple. 
Around his little fire he listened to stories of fisticuffs with 
the Japanese soldiers, or the swapping of jackknives and 
cigarettes at some water-hole in the ice between the lines ; or 
of the adventures of a dismounted scout crawling on hands 
and knees between the lines; or of nearly forgotten adven- 
tures in the south before the defeat at Liao-yang. The 
moujik listened to some soldier among them who could labo- 
riously read the Manchurian Army Viestnik, from which 
he extracted wonderful news. 

The hardships of the camp had by this time taken nearly 
all the enthusiasm for war out of the rank and file. The 
Government had promised them when they came out that they 
could return in nine months. They were told that they could 
whip the Japanese in a few months, when they would be 
brought back home. They would relate these things and then 
say that the army could not whip the Japanese, and they 
wanted to return home. 

They possessed the strangest stories regarding their com- 
manders. General Orloff, commanding a division in the 
Seventeenth Corps, was believed by some of the soldiers 

345 



The Tragedy of Russia 



to have committed suicide by poisoning on account of his 
failure at Yen-t'ai. While they were waiting for their tea, 
or after they had eaten their meal, they would gather in 
a warm place and sing melancholy songs. The routine of 
their lives was very simple, and while in camp they seemed 
to be occupied mostly with religious practices. 

Not far from Ma-tu-ran during the winter there was what 
looked like a half-submerged cemetery frozen over. The 
soldiers had erected crosses of ice and had cut evergreens 
and set them out in hedges in the ice of the Hun River, 
with walks at intervals. The only explanation of this singu- 
lar creation was that it was the product of a sentimental 
recreation of the soldiers and a shrine where the worshiper 
might say his prayers. It was as common to see a great 
open-air service as to see soldiers drilling or maneuvering 
on the positions. 

When the soldiers were not at religious exercises they 
seemed to be foraging in the neighboring hamlets and carry- 
ing off everything they could lay their hands on without pay 
and without scruple. It was a misfortune and sometimes 
a calamity for a Chinese to be visited by them, for they laid 
hold of any food, drink, clothing or other necessities that 
might come in their way, and always carried off something 
to feed the camp-fire. Unless under the protection of an 
officer or soldiers who were, living in it, a house was sure 
to be denuded of every movable object by the communicants 
of the Orthodox Church. There is no doubt that this was 
something of a revelation to the Confucianists and the 
Buddhists, though in the minds of the Chinese there are 
no moral or religious precepts by which a soldier is or can 
be bound. 

The common soldier, next to his going home, looked for- 
ward with anticipation to a visit to the great Manchurian 
capital, Mukden. The officer himself was not immune to 

346 



Life on the Sha-ho 



the attractions of the army base, where he had many pleas- 
ures unknown to the soldier. It might be said that the 
principal longing of the officer was for a leave of absence 
at Harbin, which was a refuge from revolution at home and 
a refuge from the front. After a fortnight's dissipation in 
a more or less normal civil community with a certain society, 
the officer returned to the position with the keenest regret, 
and I think with an aching heart. 



347 



CHAPTER XXX 

HOSTILITIES ON THE SHA-HO 

THE Russians were anxious to prove several things. 
They desired above all to defeat the Japanese, but 
they had laid especial stress upon the superiority of 
their cavalry and upon their advantage over the Japanese in 
being able to campaign in the severest weather. The superi- 
ority of their organization, of their generalship, and their 
claims of ability to extinguish the enemy, they had virtually 
surrendered. Since the battle of the Sha-ho, they had not 
boasted of their superiority over the Japanese in the plain, 
as against mountain fighting, which they had long ago given 
up as not being one of their accomplishments. 

The winter in Manchuria is in one respect an ideal time 
for military operations, since communications are perfect. 
The roads there are smooth and hard, making it possible to 
move troops quickly. By the end of November the army's 
position was prepared. All the intricate field-works were 
constructed before the heavy frost, and their magnitude and 
strength was a gauge of how well the Russian army had 
learned its lesson from the Japanese. The use of big guns 
had greatly extended the area of depredation. The 
Japanese used their big guns sparingly, and were thought 
to be laying in ammunition for a big fight. The Russians, 
relying upon their artillery, made constant use of it, and it 
was not uncommon for them to throw sixty to one hundred 
high explosive shells into the Japanese camp in a night. 

Both sides were using electric searchlights mounted on 

348 



Hostilities on the Sha-ho 



railway trucks, which they pulled up and down the track at 
the position. 

The first day of the Chinese ceremonies in honor of the 
Empress Dowager was marked by a cannonade, during 
which the Russians discharged five hundred shells into the 
Japanese position with the purpose of demoralizing the 
work of mounting large guns, which it was suspected had 
arrived from their army besieging Port Arthur. The vicious- 
ness of these attacks was only aggravated by the fact that both 
armies had by this time so completely dug themselves into the 
ground that artillery fire was practically ineffective, and the 
ammunition was nearly wholly wasted. 

The artillery contests during these days were largely a 
competition between the big guns, and the field artillery was 
only used when some infantry movement was detected. In 
the middle of November the severe cold silenced the artillery 
and infantry in the opposing positions, and drove the sol- 
diers into their dugouts along the entire intrenched line. In 
a few days, when the temperature slightly moderated, the 
Japanese infantry opposite Pootiloff rushed a small village 
between the positions under cover of their artillery, but 
were repulsed with large casualties. At the same time 
they attacked at the railway and kept up the artillery firing 
until midnight. The attempt in the direction of Pootiloff 
was not understood by the Russian military. Three bat- 
talions were believed to have participated in the movement, 
which was thought to have been intended for a reconnois- 
sance. It occurred on the night of November 1 8th, and 
was the most important incident since the battle of the Sha-ho. 

Pootiloff was the center of interest for the whole line. 
From all points in the plain and in the foothills the Pootiloff 
guards could be seen flashing signals of attack from their 
fortifications as the Japanese infantry advanced. There 
had been repeated reports that the Japanese intended to 

349 



The Tragedy of Russia 



attack on the nineteenth, and it was supposed that this assault 
was to be the signal for an advance along the entire line. 
If this was the case it found the Russian army anticipating 
its intention, for it inaugurated its own hostile movements 
at once, both east and west of Pootiloff. The Japanese 
infantry arrived within fifty paces of the Russian trenches 
at the foot of Pootiloff, when they encountered such a 
powerful fire that they withdrew, leaving about one hun- 
dred dead, whom the Russians buried on the nineteenth. 
About two hundred wounded were also taken from the 
field by the Russians, who themselves lost only a few men 
in their trenches. 

An idea of the amount of firing necessary to do even a 
little damage may be gained from an incident that happened 
during the latter part of December just west of the railway. 
The Japanese from their water-tank watch-tower at the Hsu- 
lin-tzii station had obtained the range of some Russian 
trenches. Their marksmanship was excellent, and they threw 
about eighty shells over the trenches where the Russians were 
working. But only three or four men were killed and 
wounded. 

In the first days of December the Japanese attempted what 
appeared to be the placing of observation mines under the 
Sha-ho railway bridge, which had always been tenaciously 
defended and closely watched by the Russians at Lin-shen- 
p'u. Kuroki attacked Rehnencamp with his cavalry and 
Rennencamp retaliated, but suspended the offensive as soon 
as he had recovered his lost ground. 

The lapse of two months without any large scale hostili- 
ties confirmed the relaxation of both armies for the winter. 
The Japanese made no attempt to prevent the assembling of 
a large Russian Army. It was seen that so long as the armies 
remained on the defensive, it was about impossible for either 
to eject the other from its burrows, and, had it been able to 

350 



- I i 



Hostilities on the Sha-ho 



do so, it could not have advanced beyond its enemy's canton- 
ments, for it would have been impossible to have bivouacked 
in the open, or to have dug new cantonments, while the prob- 
lem of forage and fuel in a desolated region would have been 
difficult, if not impossible to solve. 

The whole Russian army was engaged in winter enter- 
prises, such as building sledges for the icy roads behind the 
position. In the hundred miles between the Liao and the 
mountains in the east, the soldiers, secure behind their de- 
fenses and anticipating no battles before spring, were per- 
haps happier than they had been at any time since arriving 
in Manchuria. 

On the right flank, where the lines were separated from 
five to eight miles, there were occasional reconnoitering expe- 
ditions in which sometimes a whole battalion engaged in 
demonstrations and attacks, losing a few men to the enemy, 
and occasionally capturing a few Japanese prisoners. Some of 
the corps commanders while inspecting their positions were 
recognized by the Japanese and shelled. There were many 
interesting exploits between the lines carried out by a few 
men. On the flanks a few dismounted scouts would remain 
inside the enemy's lines for two or three days and return with 
a plausible story. One of the incidents of close relations 
along the Sha-ho was the blowing up of a house occupied 
by Japanese outposts. But the principal object of all of these 
demonstrations was to maintain a knowledge of the enemy's 
position and prevent molestation of its own cantonments. 

The Czar's name day occurred on the nineteenth of 
November, and was preceded by five days' hostilities on the 
extreme east, where Kuroki advanced against Rennencamp's 
position. It was a region of great picturesqueness, not easily 
accessible and now very cold. However, the Japanese closed 
up against Rennencamp's lines with the evident purpose of 
testing their strength, and after five days withdrew. Seven- 

351 



The Tragedy of Russia 



teen mixed prisoners were captured by Rennencamp's men. 
Part of these were infantry, whose feet were frosted and who 
were found to be inadequately clothed. After apparently 
prospecting the possibilities of flanking the Russian left 
the Japanese remained quiet, but their enterprises seemed 
to pique the pride of the Russian cavalry. However, it can 
be said with justice, that notwithstanding their boast of 
superiority it required the impending disaster of the sur- 
render of Port Arthur by General Stoessel to galvanize the 
Russian cavalry into action. Mischenko, about the first of 
December, sent Cossacks to reconnoiter the entire region 
between Mukden and Tieh-ling, where, on account of the 
absence of sufficient garrison, Japanese had repeatedly ap- 
peared. It was realized at this time that the army must be 
prepared for some stroke should Port Arthur fall. Mis- 
chenko was sent to the right flank, and the center of the 
lines was stripped of its cavalry for the operations that were 
about to take place. Where the fortifications were now the 
most formidable, the troops were reduced. 

Following the battle of the Sha-ho there were daily an- 
nouncements in the newspapers of new plans of army re- 
organization. The formation of the Russian army at the 
period of its advance the first week in October, was to be 
retained, but the three armies, called the Eastern, the West- 
ern, and the Commander-in-Chief's Army of the Center, 
now took the names of the First, Second, and Third armies, 
and General Grippenberg, General Kaulbars, and General 
Linievitch came to Manchuria to participate in the recon- 
struction and to assist in the command. These commanders 
did not reach Manchuria until the latter part of December. 
General Linievitch was placed in charge of the First Army, 
with headquarters at Kuan-shan; General Bilderling re- 
mained at the head of the army on the railway, which took 
the name of the Third Army; and General Kaulbars was 

352 



Hostilities on the Sha-ho 



placed in command of the Second Army, which was com- 
posed of the troops on the west. His headquarters train was 
kept at Su-chia-t'un. General Grippenberg remained at Kou- 
ropatkin's headquarters at Chang-shang-mu-t'un. 

Roughly speaking, about 8,000 mounted men were as- 
sembled under Mischenko and rendezvoused at Si-fon-t'ai, 
west of Ma-tu-ran, between the Hun and Liao rivers. Their 
primary object was to destroy a large quantity of Japanese 
supplies, as well as the railway station at Yin-k'ou. It was, 
in fact, a part only of a general plan and was to serve the 
purposes of a reconnoissance of the whole Japanese left, and 
to open the way for a general attack. It was looked upon 
by the cavalry as a great opportunity, and they rejoiced in 
the mobilization of the largest body of their branch of the 
army service that had yet taken place in the Eastern Empire. 

After weeks of planning and numerous councils of war, 
and thrashing out of every possible plan to impose some 
obstacle to Japanese success, and to stem the tide of increas- 
ing disrepute of the Russian army in the outside world, 
Kouropatkin sanctioned this cautious initiatory enterprise. 
On Friday, the sixth of January, he issued and published in 
the Manchurian Army Viestnik an order of the day, com- 
manding that no Russian troops should go outside of the 
Yin-k'ou-Kou-pang-tzii— Hsin-min-t'un railway, or to go out- 
side a line drawn from Hsin-min-t'un north to the mouth 
of the Lui River. Mischenko, with his force, started south 
the next day, and there can be no doubt that this order was 
intended to give him an excuse in case he was hard pressed 
of returning to the position west of the Liao River, through 
what had been understood as neutral territory by China and 
foreigners in China — though it had been under the surveil- 
lance of Russian troops from the beginning of the war — 
and to justify, if it became necessary, its invasion by a force 
equivalent to an army corps. By the early morning of the 

353 



The Tragedy of Russia 



eighth of January the expedition formed into three columns 
abreast, and within rifle range of each other, were moving 
south past the Japanese left, the westernmost column fol- 
lowing the Liao, which, during the expedition, it crossed 
and recrossed. 

When Mischenko had departed, Russian troops were 
shifted to the right to await the effect of his attempt to re- 
turn, which it was believed and hoped that the Japanese 
would attempt to frustrate. Mischenko marching straight 
south encountered no resistance until he reached the vicinity 
of Old Niu-ch'uang, about twenty miles north of his objec- 
tive point. Here the central column encountered a company 
of Japanese garrisoning a village which the Japanese de- 
fended until they were all killed or wounded. The engage- 
ment lasted throughout the afternoon, and at dark the 
Japanese position was charged by the Cossacks, who, though 
with great loss, considering the number of men engaged, 
took the village. The French officer, Bertin, was killed, 
together with several Russian officers, while the Russian 
wounded amounted to fully one hundred. The defense made 
by the small Japanese garrison excited the admiration of the 
Russians, as not a single man surrendered. 

Mischenko arrived before Yin-k'ou on January 13th. A 
squadron of cavalry from the eastern column damaged the 
railway near Hai-ch'eng, and when the vicinity of Yin-k'ou 
was reached, another squadron made an attempt to break 
the branch line in order to prevent re-enforcements reaching 
Yin-k'ou from Ta-shih-ch'iao. A squadron visited the Hsin- 
min-t'un railway on the west to reconnoiter. 

Mischenko's army was under the impression that it was 
opposed at Yin-k'ou by a Japanese garrison of about 2,000 
men, but as a matter of fact the garrison consisted of only 
one or two companies, and was re-enforced by a battalion 
from Ta-shih-ch'iao and by Japanese civilians from Niu- 

354 



Hostilities on the S/ia-fio 



ch'uang. With a few machine guns they were able to ren- 
der a Cossack assault so dangerous as to deter Mischenko 
from what nevertheless would have been a well-advised 
action. He contented himself with an artillery attack, which 
he followed up with the advancing of his infantry, and when 
he had lost about three hundred men retired, and the great 
expedition had failed. At least five thousand men of his force 
were available for this attack, which appeared to have been 
frustrated literally by the Japanese butcher, the baker, and the 
candlestick maker of Niu-ch'uang. Japanese merchants and 
workmen, when they heard the firing at the station two and a 
half miles north of Niu-ch'uang port, grasped their rifles 
and hurried to the scene. 

En route south the expedition, believing that it had cap- 
tured Japanese stores and provisions, burned something 
under one hundred native cartloads of bean oil belong- 
ing to native merchants of Kuan-ch'eng-tzii west of Kirin, 
together with the carts themselves, an unnecessary and wan- 
ton act long mourned by the innocent merchants of Kuan- 
ch'eng-tzii. 

A force of mounted infantry, reported to be five thousand 
strong, waited west of the Hun River to open a place in the 
Japanese outposts for Mischenko to return. They were in 
command of a brave Caucasian general, who was especially 
selected for this task. When Mischenko turned back from 
Yin-k'ou he sent word that he was bringing his dead and 
wounded with him. It was reported that General Oku had 
sent three battalions of Japanese troops to Old Niu-ch'uang 
after the destruction of the small garrison there, with the 
intention of engaging Mischenko on his return. It was also 
reported that he had dispatched an entire division to prevent 
Mischenko's return, but Mischenko marched unmolested 
into his own lines. The entire force reached the Russian 
lines the evening of the sixteenth and dispatched three hundred 

355 



The Tragedy of Russia 



and seventy-five wounded, including thirty-five officers, to the 
hospital train at Su-chia-t'un. 

Mischenko's expedition returned by the same route it had 
advanced. It encountered only Japanese outposts, from 
which it sustained heavier losses than it inflicted; it failed 
to attract any large force from the Japanese position; it 
failed to take the Yin-k'ou railway station, or to destroy the 
Japanese stores, or to make an opening by which an ad- 
vantageous attack might be brought about. Its return to its 
own lines was ignored by the Japanese army. 

January 7th, when the expedition started from General 
Mischenko's rendezvous, was the Russian Christmas Eve, 
and the date had evidently been selected with the object of 
throwing the Japanese off their guard. The Russian army 
had prepared for its holiday festivities. Guests had been 
invited to share the festivities of Christmas Eve with the 
dragoons and Cossacks on the Hun, and started to their 
bivouacs at El-t'ai-tzu and elsewhere early on the morning of 
the seventh. Port Arthur had fallen, and all within the 
lines were anticipating a very sober Christmas indeed. But 
the men of the army were not yet acquainted with the reasons 
for the soberness of their officers. The word was then passed 
at the Third and Second armies that Christmas among the cav- 
alry was off, and invited guests received regrets from the 
cavalry contingents which showed that they were en route to 
General Mischenko's headquarters in force, under sealed 
orders, very unexpectedly, leaving all Christmas things behind, 
and all preparations in suspense. 

On account of the massing of troops on the right flank 
from this expedition, unusual quantities of stores were being 
moved through Su-chia-t'un for their use. Two long trains 
of Chinese carts loaded with sacks of sakhali (dry bread) 
from Tieh-ling and Kirin were halted in the roadway beside 
the railway track and soon passed on to the west by the main 

356 



Hostilities on the Sha-ho 



road to Ma-tu-ran. The railway was also unloading stores 
at Su-hu-chia-p'u. Nothing happened in the Russian lines 
to show that any important military movement was going 
on until the thirteenth. It was on this date that Kouropatkin 
received the first important news from Mischenko, describ- 
ing the destruction of a Japanese outpost of about 120 men 
near Old Niu-ch'uang. It was the day fixed for Mischenko's 
attack at Yin-k'ou, and knowing that the attack was now 
being carried on and relying on its success, Kouropatkin 
called a council of war, at which Linievitch, Grippenberg, 
and Kaulbars were present. It was anticipated that Mis- 
chenko's destruction of a Japanese outpost garrison, and the 
stores at Yin-k'ou would open the way for a general engage- 
ment. But the only effect which to that time the expedition 
had was to be found, if at all, in a continuous artillery fire 
maintained by the Japanese throughout the day upon Pooti- 
loff. The council of war could not determine the advisability 
of any further action by the Russian army before Mis- 
chenko's return. It decided nothing and left the army in 
doubt and suspicion. 

The operation was the first important raid of the war, 
and was certain to fix definitely in the minds of the military 
world, as well as in the opinion of all nations, the status of 
the boasted Russian cavalry. The Germans were particu- 
larly interested in the raid, as this form of warfare was one 
which it was supposed Russia may some time employ against 
Germany. It was believed by many that Mischenko would 
not get far, and it was prophesied that he would be only 
partially successful. 

On the fourteenth the result of Mischenko's attack on 
Yin-k'ou became known, and the information was given out 
at headquarters that no attack along the position by the Rus- 
sians was to be expected. By the fifteenth the army began to 
suspect another scandal, and it was difficult to get any trust- 

357 



The Tragedy of Russia 



worthy information as to the situation of Mischenko's force 
and what it had done. At the headquarters of the Second 
Cossack Brigade at Ma-tu-ran, Mischenko's return was 
spoken of as a great secret. All was mystery, except in 
regard to the officers wounded. 

Those at Ma-tu-ran did not know on the eighteenth when 
he would return nor where, but already Mischenko's expedi- 
tion had reached Si-fon-t'ai, where it looked like a great 
army maneuvering in the treeless plain, and had received 
orders to disband. The various contingents that had been 
assembled from every place in the line between the Eastern 
Army and the Hun were returning to their original camps. 
The dissolution of the force was the signal for every man 
evidently to express his opinion, and the success and impor- 
tance of the raid is best expressed by the criticism of the offi- 
cers who participated in it. The dragoon regiments, when 
they had recrossed the Hun, anathematized the Cossacks 
and held Mischenko responsible for another disgrace to Rus- 
sian arms. From the Hun River to the mountains was scat- 
tered grumbling and complaint, and it was evident from the 
attitude of all the troops that had joined the expedition that 
never in the army had men more quickly surrendered their 
allegiance to a commander than these men did to Mischenko. 
They came out of the haze and sunshine of the west, travel- 
tired, and covered with dust, trying to sing songs, but feel- 
ing the humiliation of failure. At the bivouacs of a 
dragoon regiment there was a dinner to General Samsonoff. 
One who sat among them felt that they had had their 
hopes of retrieving the misfortunes of the war blasted. It 
was easily seen that the expedition was recognized by them 
as an ignominious failure. The regimental staff arose to 
impress upon their guest — the general — their loyalty to 
him, and when he spoke of themselves and of the troops as 
worthy of better things, some of them wept. To strangers 

358 



Hostilities on the Sha-ho 



the general expressed the formal opinion that Mischenko 
had carried out a great expedition, but his words only seemed 
to emphasize the adverse conviction which he held. One 
conscientious officer said frankly that the expedition was of 
no importance, and that the Japanese recognized it and were 
not deceived. An intelligent and wide-awake officer opened 
his heart and condemned the whole enterprise, and spoke 
with disgust of the looting and burning of Chinese carts and 
merchandise. " The roads were splendid," said he, " and 
although it was quite warm we crossed many rivers and 
streams on the firm ice. The Liao was crossed five or six 
times. We had with us all of General Mischenko's own 
force and all the mounted infantry that could be got together, 
as well as our own dragoons. The mounted infantry had 
very bad horses and the dragoons took as many extra horses 
as could be found. Among these were a number of Japa- 
nese horses, taken from time to time by our cavalry. Of 
these we ourselves had four in the regimental staff. We 
had forty guns and we carried our own forage in case we 
should find the country desolated. When we reached Yin- 
k'ou we waited a long time before attacking, and before we 
had finished with our artillery assault the Japanese were able 
to bring up re-enforcements. We contended with the Japa- 
nese for awhile and then retired. Nobody seemed to know 
why, although it was said that we would need what ammu- 
nition we had left to fight our way back into our own lines. 
As the Japanese had not yet interfered with us, the superiors 
seemed to believe that they were preparing to bag us on our 
return. We only saw a few Japanese, and though they were 
always greatly overpowered none of them surrendered, and 
they died fighting bravely to the end. We encountered some 
Japanese cavalry and mounted infantry, but they appeared 
only to be keeping watch on the movements of our force, 
and the infantry whom we easily surrounded never surren- 

359 



The Tragedy of Russia 



dered to us. We did nothing but kill little outpost garrisons 
and loot and burn Chinese carts and merchandise. I do not 
know why we went. We did not make a reconnoissance of 
the Japanese position and we did not take Yin-k'ou, and I 
suppose we only made a reconnoissance of Yin-k'ou. It was 
all a miserable affair, and now that we have come back we 
have heard that the Japanese had moved three divisions to 
their left flank to prevent our return. But one must be a 
Russian to believe these stories." 

The official Russian report passed over the events of the 
expedition with scant commentary. It announced that one- 
half of two companies and one-half of a squadron of cavalry 
were lost at Yin-k'ou. But the army forgot the incidents 
of its own interminable scandal in the national disgrace of 
the loss of an imperial fortress. 



360 



CHAPTER XXXI 

SURRENDER OF THE CAPITAL OF THE EASTERN EMPIRE 

THE news of the fall of Port Arthur was very 
cautiously made known to the army. Six days after 
the fortress had been surrendered by General Stoes- 
sel the official army newspaper admitted that its condition 
was grave, but gave no intimation that it had been in the 
hands of the Japanese for a week. General Stoessel's re- 
ports to the Czar were scattered through the pages of many 
issues, and it was not until after twelve days that the event 
was announced in words, and then only in General Stoessel's 
prayer to the Czar to be forgiven for what he was about 
to do. 

The officers had accustomed themselves to the idea of 
Port Arthur's fall, so that the news created no great surprise. 
Even before the battle of Liao-yang it had been expected, 
and the Russians had all along since that time taken pride 
in the defense which the fortress had made. The authorities 
admitted before Christmas that no vessels had successfully 
run the blockade with supplies and the desperation of the 
defenders was tacitly understood. Many of them regarded 
as too optimistic the views that Port Arthur could resist 
for eighteen months. On the twenty-eighth of December, 
General Stoessel telegraphed that he had sixty men left in 
each company, but that only 10,000 were able to man the 
defenses, and of this number many were ill from scurvy and 
many were fighting in their bandages. He said that he had 

361 



The Tragedy of Russia 



almost no ammunition and that the Japanese were at that 
time masters of all the eastern and northeastern fortifications. 

The news of the capitulation of Port Arthur was not 
known at the army base nor among the officers of the 
army until the sixth of January, though General Stoessel 
surrendered on the first. The fleet of the Eastern Empire 
was now practically extinct. Its military capital was gone, 
and it had but one fortress. The fate of the ships of the 
fleet may be reviewed here. 

The action of April 13th, in which the Petropavlovsk with 
Admiral Makaroff and the crew were lost, was called by 
Togo the eighth Japanese attack upon Port Arthur. It was 
more than two months before the Russians were again pre- 
pared for any important action at sea, and the last event in 
the tragedy of the original fleet of the Eastern Empire on 
the high seas which took place in August ended the military 
history of the Port Arthur navy. What vessels survived the 
night of June 23d-24th and the sally of August 10th, suc- 
cumbed like rats in their holes to the attacks of the Japanese 
land artillery toward the end of the year. 

After the occupation of the Kin-chou isthmus by the 
Japanese Second Army of General Oku on May 26th, the 
Japanese Fourth Army of General Nogi was disembarked 
at Dalny to invest the fortress capital. The operations of 
General Stoessel's defense army of approximately 40,000 
land and sea troops were now the main operations of the Port 
Arthur military, for the fleet, while not destroyed, was com- 
pletely whipped and cowed. Stoessel's force of 15,000 men 
that defended the isthmus gradually withdrew to the out- 
lying defenses of the fortress itself and the garrison was 
besieged. 

But there yet remained in Port Arthur Admiral Wit- 
geft, who divided the command of the sorry fleet with Ad- 
miral Oktomsky, one of the main promoters of the Eastern 

362 



Surrender of the Capital of the Eastern Empire 

Empire and the only one of the great conspirators who 
shared the misfortunes of the Eastern Empire, for he spent 
his last days in a Japanese prison. 

The whole fleet put to sea on June 23d and cruised about 
in an uncertain fashion until night, when they were unable 
to get back into the harbor and were attacked shortly after 
dark. In the moonlight Togo kept up an almost continuous 
battle with his torpedo flotillas, and after the moon went 
down at three in the morning of the twenty-fourth he sent 
the boats very close to the line and made a final severe 
attack. 

At dawn the Perseviet was missing from the Russian fleet 
and several other vessels were disabled. The fleet survived 
this battle, but was reduced by it to such desperate straits that 
at the earliest opportunity when the ships could be repaired it 
undertook to escape from its prison. This was the final 
event at sea that finished the tragedy of the original fleet of 
the Eastern Empire. 

Having dashed out to sea from the roadstead on August 
10th the fleet under Admiral Witgeft and Admiral Oktomsky 
reached a spot between the Shan-tung mainland of China 
and the Korean peninsula before Togo gave battle. By this 
time the results of encounters between the antagonists were 
anticipated in advance, and a few days revealed the destruc- 
tion of the fleet and the death of Admiral Witgeft. The 
fight lasted about forty minutes. The second in command, 
Admiral Oktomsky, was able to escape from the scene 
of battle and to return to Port Arthur with his flagship, 
the Sebastopol, which met a wretched fate from torpe- 
does outside Golden Hill months afterward, while the last 
admiral of the fleet was carried prisoner to Japan. The 
Czarevitch fled alone to Tsing-tao. A torpedo boat fled to 
Chi-fu; the Askold fled to Shanghai. The fast dispatch boat 
Novik eluded her Japanese pursuers and escaped through 

363 



The Tragedy of Russia 



the Japan Sea, but not being able to get into Vladivostok, ran 
ashore on Saghalen and blew herself up. The Vladivostok 
squadron of three ironclads, the Gromoboi, Rossia, and 
Ritrik, that had started to meet the Port Arthur fleet, were 
intercepted by Admiral Kamamura's squadron off the east 
coast of Korea and dispersed, the Rurik being sunk, the 
other vessels badly damaged and the commander of the 
Rossia killed. 

The story of Port Arthur from this point is simple. Its 
energies and resources were conserved merely for resistance. 
General Stoessel was called upon to resist repeated pitched 
assaults against his lines of forts. The first of these occurred 
in the latter part of August. Nogi was now at the outworks 
and attempted to carry them by storm. In a week he ex- 
pended twenty-five thousand men in the endeavor. Accord- 
ing to the Japanese themselves 20,000 men were lost in one 
night. The attempt was unsuccessful, but it brought General 
Stoessel to a realization of the terrible nature of the task be- 
fore him, and inspired him to declare in a telegram that the 
fortress would be his tomb. With the garrison were several 
foreign military attaches and these he warned to leave on 
account of the state to which the place was reduced. A 
number of neutrals left by native junks and made their way 
to the Chih-li coast unmolested by the Japanese. A Rus- 
sian courier, Prince Radziwill, who had arrived at Port 
Arthur during Nogi's attack returned to the Russian lines 
to tell the story of the Russian defense. Other couriers at 
intervals passed back and forth, and the fortress was even 
visited by press correspondents. By September 1st there 
were regiments in Stoessel's force that had lost sixty per cent. 
of their men. In a speech to them, the commander said that 
the desperation of the Japanese soldiery was so great that it 
was necessary for the garrison to resist to the end. It was 
clearly disclosed by this speech that the Japanese attack had 

364 



Surrender of the Capital of the Eastern Empire 

amazed the officers, for it was a revelation of what four 
months of fighting was to be. 

All truce, as observed on the battlefields of the north, 
were ignored before Port Arthur. The Japanese asked no 
quarter, the Russians could neither bury their own dead nor 
remove the putrifying corpses of the enemy from before 
their breastworks. The Russian soldiers, with heaps of the 
slain within twenty or fifty paces of them, had to wear hand- 
kerchiefs soaked in camphor over their noses to endure the 
stench. Wounded men crawled about for days on the slopes 
and sometimes lived a week with what food and water they 
possessed, but could not be succored. The story in all its 
details is too horrible for description, for all the savageries 
of brute warfare were enacted in a continuous drama that 
makes it incomparable in military history. 

Nogi brought more than three hundred guns to the siege, 
many of them among the most powerful of siege and fort- 
ress artillery. The eleven-inch mortars were the most power- 
ful, and the projectiles which they discharged could not be 
resisted by the heaviest casemates in the Russian forts. The 
Japanese sappers and miners in some cases blew up the walls 
of the forts and stormed the breaches thus made. It required 
seven great battles against the main defenses of Port Arthur 
to defeat the garrison. 

Nogi, in August, tested the spirit of the Russians and the 
nature of their works by the most costly assault of the siege, 
and then proceeded by scientific devices that would conserve 
his strength to reduce the great forts that were otherwise 
impregnable. On September 19th he was ready for another 
assault and gave battle for six days. After an interval of 
four days he began another battle on the twenty-ninth last- 
ing two days. He fought two days beginning November 
28th; resumed the battle from December 4th to December 
9th, and again, from December 1 8th to December 20th; 

365 



The Tragedy of Russia 



and on the three days of December 28th, 29th, and 30th 
preceding the last day of the year, he carried out a final 
assault that induced General Stoessel to surrender on the 
first day of the New Year. 

General Nogi carried on his main offensive against the three 
great forts of Ki-kuan, Er-lung, and Pan-lung on the east, but 
it was the possession of 203-Meter Hill on the northwest of 
the city that enabled him to make habitation in the city outside 
of the earthworks impossible. The capture of the Er-lung 
fort, on the northeast, on December 31st, was the deciding 
event of Nogi's operations. 

The Russian Grand Army was looking for the Japanese 
Napoleon — for the twentieth century Genghis Khan — and 
they did not know whether it was to be Oyama, Kuroki or 
Nogi. In July they began to think of Port Arthur as lost 
and were disposed to count Nogi as the foremost Japanese 
general. Kuroki they had already found invincible, but as 
there could be but one Napoleon it was necessary to name 
the greatest. 

In November all expectations regarding the survival of 
the fortress had subsided and hope took refuge in the faint 
possibility of the garrison making a last stand on Golden 
Hill and Tiger's Tail peninsula. When the garrison capitu- 
lated the army professed to be scandalized, for it was a sacred 
tradition that no Russian fortress was ever surrendered. 
When the terms of capitulation were known and the condi- 
tion of the garrison, which still possessed food, arms, ammu- 
nition, and mustered a fighting force of about 24,000 men, 
Stoessel was denounced as a poltroon and the subordinate 
commanders, some of whom had discountenanced and 
opposed surrender, became heroes to loyal Russians. Stoes- 
sel, in fact, became the unhappy object of popular and offi- 
cial condemnation and was pursued by official accusation 
from his associates and was at last condemned to death and 

366 



Surrender of the Capital of the Eastern Empire 

pardoned by the Czar, to whom he had journeyed after the 
surrender, in order to report his conduct and press the claims 
of the garrison for imperial clemency, in person. 

The end of the proud fleet of the Eastern Empire befitted 
the disgrace of its beginning. When the Japanese came into 
possession of 203-Meter Hill their artillery was able to 
hound the remaining ships of the fleet about the harbor and 
to sink them one after another. The Perseviet, Poltava, 
Pobeida, Pallada, and Retzvisan went down, hounded by 
howling irresistible bombs of unprecedented power, and the 
Sebastopol, seeing their fate, took to the roadstead outside 
the harbor, where she preferred those sharks of naval war- 
fare, the torpedoes, and went down after her torpedo-nets 
were torn in shreds and could no longer protect her. The 
smaller ships were hauled into the creek parallel to Pushkin 
Street, where their wrecks were afterward found. 

The war was by no means over, for there were yet two of 
the ten pins in the game of demolishing the Russian Eastern 
Empire to fall, and Kouropatkin and the government were 
yet to be disabused of the idea of advance. 



367 



CHAPTER XXXII 



THE LAST ADVANCE 



THE army was now ready for its last advance. Mis- 
chenko's expedition had failed to provoke the 
Japanese offensive, and it was seen that the Japanese 
were waiting for the arrival of the Port Arthur garrison, by 
which they might have a preponderance of troops. Kouro- 
patkin desired to fight before that event should transpire. 

The fear of Nogi was a much greater incentive to fighting 
than chagrin at the loss of the great Pacific fortress. The 
Russian army, moreover, in size and equipment was now 
truly formidable and numbered not less than 230,000, and 
perhaps as many as 250,000 combatants. It had nearly 
one thousand available guns. The main conditions for vic- 
tory, as laid down by the conservative Russian generals, 
namely, the collection of an overwhelming force of artillery 
and an enormous supply of ammunition, together with a 
large army, were now fulfilled. The most sanguine, however, 
of them doubted whether even 300,000 would be able to out- 
flank the Japanese, which was the thing that Kouropatkin 
now proposed to attempt. Against his lack of one or two 
army corps was opposed the imminent re-enforcement of the 
Japanese position by the whole of the Port Arthur army, 
which was numbered at above 40,000 men. The conditions 
were such as to force him to attack. Moreover, the convic- 
tion still lingered that an attack in winter was greatly to the 
advantage of the Russian soldiers, and this may have added 
encouragement. The persuasion of General Grippenberg, 
who, like Stackelberg, was anxious to distinguish himself, 

368 



The Last Advance 



and to win the first victory over the Japanese, was not needed 
to induce Kouropatkin to act 

General Grippenberg appears to have enjoyed almost 
equal authority with General Kouropatkin in the battle of 
San-chia-p'u. He assumed the command of the Second 
Army (Kaulbars commanded the Third Army in the center 
instead of Bilderling). At the same time General Kouro- 
patkin accompanied him and participated in the tactics of the 
battle. General Stackelberg was in command of the First 
Siberian Army Corps which had been moved from the east 
for this event. The newly arrived Eighth European Corps, 
under General Miloff, participated, as did also General Mis- 
chenko with his mixed force on the extreme right. 

The advance began on the twenty-fifth of January. A 
great cannonade that was almost deafening began in the mid- 
dle of the morning and continued until the middle of the 
afternoon when the infantry of both the First and Eighth 
Corps advanced, some of the regiments going into action as 
usual to the accompaniment of brass bands. 

The Russian forces occupied a part of the strong Japanese 
redoubt position of San-chia-p'u. In the night Oyama took 
the offensive and attacked from his artillery position behind 
San-chia-p'u and from Hei-kou-t'ai on the west. Mischenko, 
carrying with him his artillery and some infantry, moved 
around the Japanese left, taking one Japanese outpost after 
another until he arrived within sight of the railway, which 
he hoped to be able to break, although he had lost heavily 
in his cavalry from the fire of the intrenched Japanese infan- 
try. But when he believed himself upon the point of accom- 
plishing this he was ordered to go back. 

Stackelberg occupied four or five villages during the 
twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh. He took the outworks of 
the Japanese stronghold, and the Japanese appear to have 
permitted him to almost gain the citadel of their main 

369 



The Tragedy of Russia 



redoubt before they began their principal assault. They 
then opened fire from what the Russians called a huge nest 
of concealed batteries behind San-chia-p'u. The battle 
closed on the twenty-eighth, when 24 officers and 1,600 men 
were lost. The total Russian losses were no less than 1 1,000. 
Stackelberg, with the First Siberian Corps, lost 7,000 men; 
General Miloff lost 2,000 men of the Eighth Corps; and 
General Mischenko, who was himself wounded, lost 1,500. 
Other casualties throughout the line amounted to at least 
500 more. Four regiments were nearly extinguished. 
Oyama reported that he had taken 500 prisoners, and 
from the reports which they gave the Japanese under- 
estimated the Russian losses. The Russian Thirty-sixth 
Rifle Regiment lost more than thirty officers, and was one 
of the regiments to be practically annihilated. The havoc 
in the Thirty-fourth Rifle Regiment was scarcely less 
complete. 

The Japanese position at San-chia-p'u, which Grippen- 
berg attacked, was one of great strength. The Russians 
passed three lines of outworks and they observed that 
several weeks of heavy bombardment by them had wrought 
no appreciable damage upon those works. The position was 
defended with Maxims and field-guns. According to Mar- 
shal Oyama the Japanese losses were seven thousand. 

At the end of the third day and before the real magnitude 
of the disaster was exactly' known, Kouropatkin, upon the 
evidence at hand, ordered the army of the right flank back 
into its old trenches. No disgrace that had yet occurred 
aroused in the army the scandal that was now provoked. 
Some of the bitterest animosities of the war were created on 
the battlefield of San-chia-p'u. General Kouropatkin endured 
the keen humiliation of seeing his generals involved in a 
quarrel and antagonism over the conduct of the battle. Gen- 
eral Stackelberg thought that he had not been supported by 

370 



The Last Advance 



General Miloff. General Grippenberg resented Kouropat- 
kin's interference with the movements of troops in the field, 
and was so much offended during the battle that he would 
not consent to talk with Kouropatkin when called by tele- 
phone. After the withdrawal from San-chia-p'u these digni- 
taries were heard accusing and blaming each other during a 
heated interview in Kouropatkin's car. Grippenberg at once 
resigned and returned to Russia, feeling himself greatly 
abused, and certainly much disgusted with what he found in 
Manchuria. 

The morning of the main attack, January 26th, the 
weather had moderated so that it began to snow. Chang- 
shang-mu-t'un, Kouropatkin's headquarters, was now con- 
verted in every way into a Russian village. All the walls 
were whitewashed, and the interiors of the houses were con- 
verted into comfortable homes. Kouropatkin lived in his 
train, which was connected by insulated wires lying here, 
there, and everywhere, under the snow and over it, and under 
the railway tracks, and hanging from the glittering carriages 
in which the headquarters staff was quartered, making com- 
munication to all parts of the field complete. Everything 
about the headquarters train shone with paint and varnish. 
There were in fact two long trains. At the end of one of 
these was a beautiful chapel-car, cold, formidable, and threat- 
ening. Guards stood at intervals of every two cars and 
patrolled the area adjoining the tracks. 

Preparations for the battle of San-chia-p'u — which was in 
fact merely a second attempt to carry out what Mischenko's 
raid had failed to inaugurate — were in progress during 
December. Notwithstanding that the ground was frozen to a 
depth of eighteen inches, new crossings where the earth was 
rolled out in immense cubes were being constructed at the rail- 
way embankment to facilitate the movement of troops behind 
the position. The operations were in a state approaching 

371 



The Tragedy of Russia 



the gigantic. Now that the position was attaining such a 
high degree of strength, with the artillery piled up in the 
center and men accumulated on the flanks, the issue of a 
great battle was seen by the military to depend upon the 
ability to mobilize an overwhelming force at a given point 
at the psychological moment before the enemy could act. 
Troops hitherto stationed at Kirin were brought to the 
position. Entirely new preparations were made in the com- 
munications for what was intended to be a general engage- 
ment, and which resulted in the disaster at San-chia-p'u. 
New bridges and roadways were built, and for this purpose 
great quantities of tools were obtained from the Chinese, 
made by their iron-workers after the Russian patterns. The 
sick and wounded in Mukden hospitals were taken to the 
rear — to Harbin, Chita and Irkutsk. Five hundred native 
carts were contracted for, to participate in the coming 
advance. Vigilance in the army was kept up by reports of 
Japanese attacks, and reports of an intention to attack the 
Japanese began to be circulated as if with the purpose of 
their reaching Japanese headquarters. 

The First Siberian Corps, with General Stackelberg in 
command, on January 20th, after Mischenko's failure, moved 
from the mountains by way of the new communications across 
the railway to the right flank, and it was evident that Kouro- 
patkin had accepted the alternative of a direct attack on the 
Japanese position in order to bring on a battle. The situ- 
ation was carefully worked up according to one of the most 
elaborate plans of war produced by General Kouropatkin 
and the general staff during the war. It showed on the face 
of it that Kouropatkin had been most seriously thinking of 
the offensive. 

From the moment of General Mischenko's departure for 
Yin-k'ou, all communications to the outside world by tele- 
graph that might have any bearing on the army's intention 

37 2 



The Last Advance 



were stopped. Correspondents were thus warned of impor- 
tant operations, and set out for the front. 

The heavy vapor slowly began to turn to snow at seven 
in the morning as I was leaving Mukden by the south road. 
Headquarters at Chang-shang-mu-t'un were deserted, General 
Kouropatkin having departed with his staff in the night. A 
big rolling cannonade began west of the railway at 9:45, 
announcing that the attack was on. At Pai-t'a-p'u the troops 
in reserve were out in the open listening to the battle, and 
gazing into the southwest. I passed Pai-t'a-p'u shortly after 
noon in a veritable snowstorm. A division general stationed 
there in the reserve came out of his quarters to listen to the 
battle and was gazing in the direction of Su-chia-t'un, where 
he could see nothing, for by this time the snow was blinding. 
At Su-chia-t'un the staff of Kaulbars was standing about 
his train. When I reached the zone beyond the railway 
the snow had ceased, and it began to turn colder. The 
infantry had begun its advance and re-enforcements were 
moving from the railroad westward. A battalion came up 
and halted in the ice and freezing snow to rest. The wind 
began to blow and soon set them on the move. They went 
away in the cold and gloom of the evening, singing their 
marching song, and disappeared in the west. In the night 
the Russians took the two villages of Ho-lan-t'ai and Fu-chia- 
chuang-tzu. Hand to hand fighting ensued in the streets 
of the villages and hamlets, and many Japanese and Russians 
fell and were left lying in the streets. Fighting was sus- 
pended at nightfall, and I spent a cold night in a native 
house behind the position. The twenty-seventh was colder, 
with a bitter wind blowing steadily from the north, greatly 
to the disadvantage of the Japanese, who were facing it 
and who only with great difficulty were able to use their 
rifles, or see clearly. The Russians were now for the first 
time able to examine the approaches to, and the outworks of, 

373 . 



The Tragedy of Russia 



the Japanese position. I hey found in the firing zone that 
had been between the lines the frozen bodies of numbers of 
their scouts, who had disappeared during their life on the 
Sha-ho. Having frozen gradually, their faces and hands 
were eaten by the Chinese dogs. These bodies were found 
in all attitudes, as if when wounded and unable to walk they 
had been fighting off the dogs or endeavoring to walk or 
crawl. With ponderous wadded or fur clothes, with only 
a skull for a head, and with no hands, these bodies were 
perhaps the most revolting objects belonging to the horrors 
of war. Some of them were photographed when the army 
retired. It was impossible to bury them, or indeed to carry 
the newly wounded, upon whom the dogs of the battlefield 
had doubtless made horrible levies. 

The day's battle in the First Corps resulted in the esti- 
mated loss of about two thousand. The Japanese continued 
their offensive on the twenty-seventh, administering the most 
terrible punishment that the Russian army had yet sustained 
from any attack. The attempt to take advantage of the 
supposed impotency of the Japanese troops during the 
severest rigors of winter was punished in the thirty-six 
hours by a loss of five thousand Russian soldiers. The 
Tenth Corps was drawn into the attack, and the artillery 
of the center made a demonstration in the hope of checking 
the Japanese offensive. There was nothing to show that the 
Japanese had shifted any large bodies of troops, although 
they had re-enforced their redoubt position at San-chia-p'u 
during the night of the twenty-sixth. This fact, together 
with the magnitude of the defeat already sustained, made 
impossible in the mind of the commander-in-chief the offen- 
sive battle which he had planned against the whole of the 
Japanese position. 

When the plans for this great advance had first been 
made known, it was thought feasible by independent critics. 

374 



The Last Advance 



The chances of the Russian army marching back into Liao- 
yang were regarded as favorable. That there was a change 
of opinion of independent critics within the lines since the 
battle of the Sha-ho, showed the effect which under the most 
unfavorable circumstances mere time will have over relatively 
the same conditions. It is a fact, however, that notwith- 
standing most of their military idols had been broken the 
Russians still clung to the idea of their being pre-eminently 
a winter people. As for their ability to fight with superior 
effect in the plain, they claimed at the time of this battle no 
more than an equal chance with the Japanese. It was with 
an irony beyond the achievement of human control therefore 
that the weather as by Divine command arrayed itself upon 
their side to emphasize their defeat. Relapsing again into 
the defensive, and with the memory of perhaps the most 
disgraceful failure of the whole war, the Russian army 
began to question even its superiority in defense of intrench- 
ments. 

San-chia-p'u was as cold and wintry a battlefield as Eylau 
or Austerlitz, or as is suggested by the famous lines on Hohen- 
linden. Some of the machinery assembled for the advance 
gave the field after the defeat a depressing appearance 
beyond all power of words to describe. At Su-chia-t'un, 
where General Kaulbars, who took no important part in the 
battle, remained in readiness for the general attack, that 
never came, could be seen on a siding opposite the station, 
great piles of tools with which it had been intended to build 
roads and bridges and to extend the railway as the Japanese 
fell back. Tools had ever been in their profusion and excel- 
lence the eloquent impeachment of those who behind them 
were wanting as men. 

When the estimates were all made it was announced that 
the Russian losses for the battle were nearly twelve thousand, 
and this was without counting many who died in the hospitals 

375 



The Tragedy of Russia 



of gangrene caused by frost, or of amputation resulting from 
frost. Each company that took part in the main events of 
the battle received fifteen St. George's Crosses for distribu- 
tion by lot among the survivors. Fifty St. George's Crosses 
were given to the soldiers of one battery. 

Besides the First Siberian Corps and the Eighth Russian 
Corps, the Second and Fifth brigades of Sharpshooters, and 
the Sixty-first Reserve Division, were engaged in the battle, 
which extended also to the Tenth and Fifth corps. On 
receipt of the news of the withdrawal from San-chia-p'u 
and the abandonment of the general attack, the officers of 
the center called for champagne and other drinks to celebrate 
the occasion. The soldiers gathered together and sang songs. 
Under the new organization the army had had its most 
humiliating disaster. The participation of the Czar in 
the affairs of the battlefield had proven a failure. Gen- 
eral Kouropatkin telegraphed the Czar that he was ham- 
pered in his offensive operations by the failure of the 
European troops to advance. This was an impeachment 
of the Eighth Army Corps, commanded by General Miloff 
and of General Grippenberg. The order of the day revok- 
ing Kouropatkin's original order for a general advance 
gave two reasons for abandoning the offensive. First, on 
account of the losses; and second, because the attack had 
failed in celerity, making the advance impracticable. 

It had been the device of the Russian army from the very 
beginning of the war to decimate if possible the ranks of 
the Japanese by artillery fire on a mapped zone, every detail 
of which was known to their artillerists. It was at the battle 
of San-chia-p'u that the Japanese succeeded better in this 
device than had the Russians at any place than perhaps at 
Port Arthur. At Liao-yang and all the defenses in the sur- 
rounding mountains this plan had never succeeded in turning 
the scale of success in favor of the Russians, while at San- 

376 



The Last Advance 



chia-p'u the destruction in their own ranks was so great that 
they believed their plan for a general movement defeated 
by it. 

The hope of an advance was permanently broken. The 
shock of failure was so great that Kouropatkin renewed his 
desperate intrenching activities, especially on the, Hun oppo- 
site the battle-ground. His apprehension was disclosed in 
a telegram to the Czar in which he said that his forces were 
in a dangerous position. He was then anticipating and pre- 
paring for an attack which followed in less than a month and 
which decided the question of a further land campaign. 



377 



CHAPTER XXXIII 



BATTLE OF MUKDEN 



THE center of the Russian line at the fortified hill 
at Er-ta-kou, where the mountains and hills met 
the plain, was entrusted to the Fourth Siberian 
Corps, of the First Army, under General Zarubaieff, to 
defend. Zarubaieff's headquarters were at Kuan-shan, a 
village behind a hill of that name, which overlooked the 
great fortified hills Er-ta-kou, Pootiloff, and Novogorod. 
At this village General Linievitch, commanding the First 
Army, had his headquarters until the twenty-fifth of March. 
" Within six hours," said the Russians there, " we would 
ourselves have attacked." But in this great battle, fought 
around Mukden, which was to be a severer test of the Rus- 
sian land forces than any previous engagement, the Japanese, 
always informed and eternally ready, took up their own grap- 
pling tactics and closed against the Russian left on February 
23d, fencing for grasp of their large and unwieldy enemy. At 
last, after months of preparation and waiting by both sides, 
and apprehension, the Japanese struck with the swiftness and 
vagary of lightning. They crept to their attack here and 
there, first with a blow in the foothills east of Er-ta-kou, 
then along the railway, then in the eastern mountains, and 
lastly on our extreme right. 

There were some Russian officers who, realizing the inten- 
tions of the Japanese, solemnly looked each other in the 
eyes upon this anticipation of Russian plans as though it 
was another impertinence of the enemy and as though Rus- 
sian Imperial designs were still notoriously infallible. 

37* 



Battle of Mukden 



In four days the Japanese advanced twenty miles on the 
east, pushing the left flank back over the nest of mountains 
which constituted the Russian eastern barrier and took the 
pass " Ta-ling," which opened to them the direct road to 
Fu-shun and Tieh-ling ! 

By this time there was an unbroken cannonade reaching 
from Ta-ling to Chan-tan, a battle-line as it followed the posi- 
tion one hundred and ten miles in length. At morning a com- 
pany of infantry were drilling at Kuan-shan on a small parade- 
ground before headquarters in the immemorial evolutions 
that were a part of an obsolete military system, and the 
same officers mentioned above remarked, while the battle 
advanced: " There is but one thing to do, and that is to 
stop the war and reorganize the army. It cannot be done 
in time to affect this war, and we can never even hope to 
defeat the Japanese with our present organization and 



tactics." 



The veteran Linievitch, commanding the First Army, see- 
ing the effect on his left flank of the Japanese advance, 
moved from the foothills at Kuan-shan and Er-ta-kou to the 
extreme east, and established his headquarters at Shi-hu- 
ch'ang on the Ta-ling-Fu-shun road, where he steadied his 
wavering line, but stripped of troops the left center from 
which he came. 

On February 26th it was seen that there was every pros- 
pect of a great battle. On the twenty-eighth it was learned 
that General Alexeieff temporarily commanding Rennen- 
camp's forces on the east had been calling for re-enforce- 
ments for four days. General Rennencamp had been sent 
to the west and put in command of General Mischenko's 
division, Mischenko being still at Mukden, convalescent of 
a wound received in the Battle of San-chia-p'u. This was 
done in execution of the Russian interrupted plan of battle 
whereby General Alexeieff was to participate in holding the 

379 



The Tragedy of Russia 



Japanese right while Rennencamp participated in turning 
their left. But now Rennencamp was hurrying across the 
front to his own command. 

At this moment it was fully apparent that a state of affairs 
existed such as might demoralize any nation. A great army 
that had intended to be itself the aggressor paused to discover 
the enemy's intention. A hostile demonstration throughout the 
greatest field-works ever constructed, by the strongest armies 
ever pitched in battle, after three and one-half months of 
preparation, electrified Mukden and re-created and multi- 
plied all previous anxieties. And in four days, although the 
battle must last yet ten, the army already under the most 
sinister conviction was afraid to look into the future. For 
now, the twenty-eighth, the Japanese opened fire in the center 
with their unmatched Port Arthur siege guns ! 

From the moment this occurred there was no question of 
the enemy's intentions. Another and perhaps final battle 
was thus inaugurated and set in full swing. And being the 
innovation of the enemy it had all the effect of being an 
earnest not alone of his ability but of his plan and resolution 
to carry it through. 

I do not believe it is an exaggeration to say that the hearts 
of serious commanders there sunk to the lowest ebb. The 
story will perhaps never be written, except in fragments, for 
the battle was a tragedy for them, and the survivors have 
been engrossed with too many subsequent tragedies perhaps 
to care to recite the sorrows of an evil day, in a disgraceful 
adventure, on an alien soil with a despised and strange an- 
tagonist. I never in all the two weeks of terrible battle 
heard one hopeful word, or knew of one from any sup- 
posedly sane and intelligent Russian officer except those 
inventions of Russian successes on the east whereby the 
troops were represented as having reached Liao-yang, and 
Kouropatkin's proclamations on two occasions to the effect 

380 






i 











\K, 





\ 



General Rennencamp (autograph) 



r 



Battle of Mukden 



that the progress of the battle was satisfactory, put out by 
the general staff. 

If the Japanese expected some effective moral damage 
from opening fire with their Port Arthur siege guns they 
were not disappointed. To the Russians facing them, noth- 
ing like this had ever occurred. The Japanese, who had 
already bombarded the famous Pootiloff sopka for three 
days, commenced with eleven-inch shells under which noth- 
ing lives, and, in twelve hours the works there which it 
had taken four months to perfect, were demolished. The 
Russian officers recited this with bated breath and manifest 
anxiety. At the same time four of these awful projectiles 
fell upon Er-ta-kou, three miles farther east, and the Rus- 
sian line prepared for a general Japanese night assault which 
was almost certain to take place. 

The most significant and ominous event that had ever 
transpired on the Sha-ho occurred this day when these mon- 
strous engines of dissolution fell there, for they announced 
that the invincible army of the Mikado was prepared to 
wrest the great fortifications of the Sha-ho and the " Second 
Capital " of China from the grand army of the Czar. The 
strong defenses of the center, which had been the proud cita- 
del of Russian rifles, became the ground of contest with the 
bayonet. 

The impression which this event produced upon the center 
was one of gloom, and a situation arose such as is only pro- 
duced by the ironies of war, and possible perhaps only in a 
present-day Russian camp. The base of one of these eleven- 
inch shells that had fallen on Er-ta-kou was brought into the 
mess room and an officer examining it, remarked with dread 
anticipation: " One of these shells may fall here at any 
moment." Another said: " It is impossible to hold the line 
here now, our position is untenable." 

Two officers attached to the staff with whom I conversed 

38i 



The Tragedy of Russia 



questioned me about the latest rumors of peace, for there had 
been dispatches concerning the same; and word by word 
carried my statements to an adjacent table where a group of 
the highest corps officers were drinking champagne. These 
thoughts occupied them during the interval between the even- 
ing meal and the arrival of the headquarters' band and, such 
is the buoyancy, fatalism, or sentimentalism of the Russian 
character that they called for the saddest and most seductive 
music. There was one favorite, a waltz, very popular 
among them, called, I think, " The Wood-nymph," and 
with the sweet measures of this waltz were mingled reports 
of the momentary tragedies of the outposts, the low roll 
of the night guns and the clatter of the rifles as the 
Japanese made their night assault against Pootiloft. As 
I left the mess room and passed out through the vestibule 
I noticed that the musicians received with gratification the 
approval and encore of the officers and moved loyally 
and spiritedly on to the next waltz. At that moment 
and while champagne was brought in and poured out, 
there were bayonet charges going on in front, and the 
messengers from the battle-line brought in some of the 
enemy's projectiles, some of his infantry caps oozing with 
blood and brains, and other accouterments and paraphernalia 
that constitute the documents of the military intelligence de- 
partment in battle. The officers of the corps staff tendered 
a cap of a soldier of the Japanese Imperial Guard containing 
brains and blood to Captain William Judson of the American 
Army, who declined the grewsome souvenir. 

About midnight General Zarubaieft returned from a con- 
sultation with the commander-in-chief, and related that in 
Mukden the very Chinese street-arabs shouted out after him 
to inquire if he was not going to Tieh-ling! 

"Tieh-ling, capitan? Tieh-ling bolshoi, capital!?' said 
they. During the day shrapnel and brisants were striking 

382 



Battle of Mukden 



Keng-ta-jen-shan, as well as along the entire twenty-one 
verst position eastward to Kao-t'ou-ling, a pass, where was 
afterward a terrible infantry duel. When night came there 
was nowhere more tragedy than in the center. It was im- 
possible, almost, to sleep. To the west the roll of guns. In 
the east the cannon flashes could be seen striding without a 
sound like a long line of gaunt specters back and forth in 
the dark midnight sky. In front, yet still the rifle clatter, 
chug, and occasionally ominous quiet ! and over all, the soft 
witching music of the Geisha from the tireless band in the 
mess room stole into our house where, with a colleague, 
I stood behind a mat-battened window to listen. At the 
same time there was the sound of revelry. The surroundings 
had all the outward suggestion of a night in decaying Rome 
where all the future was involved in one last throw of the 
dice. 

Though they continued drinking, it would have been diffi- 
cult to have told precisely what they were drinking to. It 
was a part of that bravado which was thought by them to 
belong to esprit de corps, and which inspires one officer to re- 
mark to a brother officer, " I am surprised and chagrined to 
find that you are not wounded! " or, " What! you have not 
been wounded?" They seemed to desire to appear light- 
hearted and frivolous in the presence of all that was serious 
and awful, though to be drunk would continue a " scandal " 
so long as man retained the sense of animal superiority and 
the upright posture. 

Two guinea-pigs belonging to an officer of the First Army 
staff scampered and played about in the officer's room, where 
we bivouacked, and the native tenant lay in an opium stupor 
on a k'ang — the pale cannon's flash casting a perceptible 
ghost-light upon him. 

But let us go on with the thunder for there's plenty of it. 
The Russian outposts in the vicinity of Pootiloff fell back 

383 



The Tragedy of Russia 



two miles! Pootiloff was untenable! The once proud 
stronghold which cost three thousand Russian men killed 
and wounded to recover after the battle of the Sha River, 
and which remained valiantly defended for four months, now 
broken and inglorious, fell to the mean contention of the out- 
posts — the Russian infantry awaiting the signal of the 
enemy's approach to return to their ruined trenches there 
and repulse the assault. 

Half-way to Keng-ta-jen-shan, where the Japanese on the 
night of the twenty-fifth had to leave behind them an hun- 
dred and ten dead and wounded, to remain on the field for 
two days under fire from both sides, they now charged the 
Russian outposts ten times with hand-grenades. In the even- 
ing they succeeded in advancing two miles nearer to Lin- 
ch'ien-hu-t'un, rendering the Keng-ta-jen-shan road impassa- 
ble and covering it with both shell and rifle fire. 

General Zarubaieff gave orders to allow the Japanese to 
remove their dead and wounded if they so elected. But they 
showed no inclination to do so. All night, guided by torch 
signals, they charged the outposts, approaching within fifty 
paces before firing, and even arriving inside the Russian 
lines with grenades in hand. The maimed and wounded 
crawled about in the firing zone, where they could be seen 
lifting themselves up sometimes only to fall back helplessly 
and to sadly awaken the sympathy of the Russian soldiers 
and officers contemplating them from the shelter of their own 
commanding trenches. 

The Russian operations in the center had so far been con- 
fined to the artillery with which the Russians made an un- 
precedented demonstration to relieve the pressure on their 
flanks. The relatively small manifestation of the Japanese 
there aroused the suspicion that the main Japanese attack was 
intended for the center. Under the shelling from siege-guns, 
the shriek of hand-grenades and the explosion of ground 

384 



Battle of Mukden 



mines the Russians prepared for those desperate Port Arthur 
assaults which the siege mortars of the enemy suggested — 
methods of terror going on for the purpose of screening the 
real strategy of the battle. 

The whole Japanese line had now pushed itself up against 
the Russian main position from Chan-tan in the west, 
to Ma-chun-tan and farther east, where it had moved up 
twenty to fifty miles from its winter quarters. At Er-ta-kou, 
where the Japanese had struck four eleven-inch shells and 
maintained an intermittent fire of brisants against the Russian 
batteries hidden in the gullies coursing down on the north- 
west slope, our officers complained of having only a scant two 
regiments with which to repulse the Japanese main assault 
which they anticipated. 

Having mined the Sha River from their impregnable re- 
doubt at Lin-shen-p'u, less than a verst west of the railway, 
the engineers of the Thirty-fifth Division blew up a Japanese 
redoubt in the same village, and infantry simultaneously 
rushed the railway bridge over the Sha, which had been 
under contention since October 15th, but without success. 
They held it for only a short interval and were forced to retire 
to their original position. 

The news of the flanks had by this time traversed the 
whole position, and the Russian army knew that it was on 
the defensive throughout its entire length. For four days 
the Russians received and met the attack, falling back in the 
east, holding grimly to the west, and making a gigantic 
counter-demonstration in the center. The battle was on in 
earnest. 

Rennencamp, while temporarily commanding Mischenko's 
Western Detachment guarding the extreme right flank, had 
scouted along the Japanese left and discovered that it was 
impossible to advance there. He was hurrying back to the 
Eastern Detachment, to his own command, to find with 

385 



The Tragedy of Russia 



chagrin that its headquarters were now at Ma-chun-tan, 
twenty miles behind the spot where he had left it! No 
sooner had he reached his own camp than he learned that 
the right flank which he had just left had been partially para- 
lyzed and was being rolled up like his own ! 

On March ist Oku fought the Russian intrenched troops 
at Chan-tan on the Hun, defeated them, and occupied the 
place. From the works there the Russian artillerymen claim 
to have seen an entire regiment of Oku's infantry destroyed 
in its advance by their shrapnel. They named their own 
losses at one thousand. The Russians were then forced back 
past Chan-ch'uan-tzu, and on March 2d the right flank lost 
again in a pitched engagement at Tao-t'ai-tzu on the south 
bank of the Hun where it retired again under compulsion 
from its defenses before Oku, who was by this time driving 
against the Russian right with such force as could only be 
compared with his attacks in the South road at Liao-yang. 

The Russian troops there, now twice beaten, were calling 
for re-enforcements, and the army began to suspect the awful 
presence of General Nogi. 

The name of Nogi was to the Russians something of what 
that of Achilles must have been to the defenders of Troy. 
Ever since the fall of Port Arthur they had tried to trace 
and to locate him. Each of the three Russian armies had 
stood in equal dread of him, of his eleven-inch guns, and of 
his invincible, bandy-legged, 203-Meter Hill conquerors. 
Kouropatkin ordered the right flank to fall consistently back. 

The situation at this moment was truly dramatic. Be- 
ginning in the far east, Madridofl's detachment of Rennen- 
camp's command was cut off and lost, to know no more of 
the army's fortunes until some days after the horses of Mad- 
ridoff's messengers dropped dead of fatigue on our trail at 
K'ai-yuan; the detachment on the Liao River east of Hsin- 
min-t'un was engaged in a running escape across the head of 

386 



Battle of Mukden 



the Japanese cavalry in front of Nogi's army, and was mak- 
ing toward Mukden from the northwest ! An engineer on 
the Mukden-Hsin-min-t'un road, west of Ta-shih-ch'iao, 
while mapping, looked up to see a column of Japanese in- 
fantry moving past him to the north, not eight hundred 
meters distant ! — the Liao was entirely relinquished. The 
First Siberian Corps, which was so terribly needed on the west 
where there was a continuous demand for re-enforcements to 
arrest the progress of the Japanese, was sent to the foothills 
east of Chang-shang-mu-t'un, Kouropatkin's winter head- 
quarters. Kouropatkin, though under no misapprehension 
of the seriousness and drift of the conflict, had yet not appre- 
hended the advance of Nogi around his right flank and had 
only returned from Fu-shun where he had been waiting an- 
other left flank movement such as the Japanese had con- 
sistently made heretofore. 

And now also there began for this battle the decline 
and fall of the Russian generals that was a phase of every 
battle of the war. General Alexeieff, who had disap- 
peared from prominence shortly after the battle of Ta-shih- 
ch'iao and then reappeared, was making his way laboriously 
and sadly with his baggage along by the commander-in- 
chief's now deserted headquarters to the rear, to be heard of 
no more, a good, valiant old general, discredited because he 
had fallen back with the Eastern Detachment before the 
advance of Kawamura. 

The officers of the center, over their champagne, sifted a 
little more closely, fragment by fragment, the rumors of 
peace until they gave up hope, though the turning of the 
right flank by the enemy diverted their fears of an unusual 
attack in the center, which was, with its artillery, pursuing a 
demonstration that was approaching desperation. 

The battle of the right flank now numbered two signal 
Russian defeats, Chan-tan and Tao-t'ai-tzu; the Japanese 

387 



The Tragedy of Russia 



were pushing past Ma-tu-ran to Chan-tien-p'u, and Nogi was 
approaching the line of Russian redoubts west of Mukden. 
The news spread like wildfire. The Chinese learned of it 
and knew that the decisive hour was come. The foreign 
and Russian merchants following the army, who had antici- 
pated some great event and made themselves believe in a 
Russian victory, hitherto confident that the Russian army 
would never allow itself to be dislodged from its Manchurian 
stronghold, were now seized with such panic-like fear that 
they ventured out to the battlefield. On the west, just beyond 
the railway, they saw the Red Cross tumbrils rolling in with 
their ugly freight and got a glimpse of the first prisoners 
arriving from Nogi's lines. Among these panic-stricken army 
followers was a young merchant who owned ten thousand 
cases of champagne, the whole of the Chinese coast stock, 
which he had monopolized for the Mukden market. The 
prospect of Mukden without Russians was to him a night- 
mare. 

Inside the railways, in the settlement boundaries, the Greek 
and Armenian and other sutlers who had retreated all the 
way from Ta-shih-ch'iao in the south, and Hai-ch'eng, 
damned the Russians openly as they pondered once more, 
flinging away large stocks of valuable merchandise and flee- 
ing northward. The shops had already begun to close, and 
several were already decamped. What remained of the sut- 
ler's settlement was within 1 appreciable distance of bedlam 
when day closed. The events on the west that were now 
inaugurated were to outlast all watching, outlast all enthu- 
siasm, and novelty and energy. 

The appearance of the battlefield at night was hardly less 
wonderful than the spectacle by day. Late on March ist 
I recrossed the Hun, south of Mukden, and turned into the 
great military road leading to Kuan-shan. Darkness over- 
took me before I was half-way to Er-ta-kou. Men carrying 

3 88 



Battle of Mukden 



three litters of wounded told me that forty cart-loads of the 
same had passed back earlier in the day on this road, and that 
on other roads it was the same. At nightfall the line of Rus- 
sian batteries extending in a semicircle for three or four 
miles at the back of Novogorod and Pootiloff sopkas, receiv- 
ing a volley from the enemy, replied in unison — one long 
picket-line of flame lighting up the deep purple of the dark- 
ening plain. Horsemen approached from all directions and 
disappeared in the darkness. Flashes of cannon-light dimly 
illumined the eastern sky accompanied by faint sounds, and 
when it was quite dark and moonless a signal was burnt on 
Pootiloff sopka, glowing in the vaporous night as it flared 
up and then died away. 

At eight o'clock a terrific cannonade began, such as was 
only possible with our unprecedented numbers of cannon, 
and continued intermittently throughout the whole night. 
The Japanese were charging Pootiloff. At three o'clock in 
the morning of the second they made a second attempt, the 
rifles alternating with the guns and the shells like fireworks 
lighting up a wide expanse of night. 

At dawn of the second there was no respite. The can- 
nonade went on undiminished. From the top of the Kuan- 
shan Red Cross cars could be seen creeping over the thin 
field-railways to the position, and infantry re-enforcements 
from the east filed along the military roads to the west and 
south. A snowstorm, which now set in and obscured the 
enemy's position and the bursting shells, by the nervous ap- 
prehension which it caused, accelerated the artillery fire. 
The possibility or continuance of a blinding storm, because 
it gives occasion for surprise, excites apprehension by day 
and dread by night. 

In the afternoon the sky suddenly cleared. In the wide 
miles of plain in the zone of two or three hundred siege- 
guns on our side and one to two hundred on the side of the 

389 



The Tragedy of Russia 



Japanese between Pootiloft and Lin-shen-p'u, there was a 
mass of smoke resembling all the October haze and burnt 
powder that characterized the battle of the Sha River four 
months before, with geysers of vapor, smoke, and debris 
hurled high up. Two great fugases went up that were like 
volcanic eruptions. 

An almost continuous artillery engagement, with rifle-fire 
interspersed, had now for two days marked the desperate 
demonstration of the Russian armies in the center to arrest 
or mitigate the disaster on the right where Oku was wedg- 
ing in between the Second and Third Armies toward the 
Hun railway bridge, and Nogi was racing for the rear of 
Mukden. Goethe, who described the cannonade at Valmy, 
would have considered this an earthquake in comparison, and 
his words at that forgotten event might, with as much truth, 
have been pronounced over the consequences that followed 
these events, that " from this day forth commences a new 
era in the world's history " — for the complete defeat and 
rout of all the land forces of the Eastern Empire had com- 
menced. The demonstration in the center failed to make 
any apparent impression on the drift of the battle, and by 
the morning of the third the events of the center and of the 
entire line were eclipsed by the battle of the right flank. 

On the second the Russians claimed to have regained 
something of their position on the east. Very early the re- 
mains of the First Army headquarters were removed from 
Kuan-shan, the army stores were hurriedly evacuated, and all 
troops, transports, Red Cross camps, and artillery parks 
moved out, for the place was no longer safe and had been 
reduced to a state of desuetude by the Japanese, who had by 
this time fixed the whole character of the final land battle. 
The doom of the Sha River line was foretold by the break- 
ing up of buildings which now commenced. The center, in 
a day, became attenuated and melancholy, and the disheart- 

390 



Battle of Mukden 



ened troops there were regaled by the general staff with tales 
of the advance of the left flank to Liao-yang. It was repre- 
sented to them and to the whole center and right flank that 
the Russian front was swinging around rigidly to a position 
parallel with the railway. Instead the Russian army now 
described in its form a complete right angle with the apex at 
Lin-shen-p'u. 

At the house where I had slept a soldier of the First Army 
appeared at dawn with a cart and rescued the guinea-pigs, 
with which he made off through the foothills to Shi-hu- 
ch'ang. There were two or three Armenian and Caucasian 
merchants who, bereft of patronage, stalked up and down 
among their boxes and tins, and over the little counters in 
their deserted shops anathematized the army and forgot to 
prepare to withdraw. 

It was now that the extensive preparations for this event 
covering months appeared so formidable and so inconsequent. 
In leaving the houses the soldiers smashed the windows and 
doors. As I passed through the streets I could hear the ring 
of falling glass and the smash of scantling. Elaborate and 
commodious winter quarters which officers had fixed up were 
deserted to dogs and vermin. The extensive telegraphs with 
which Kuan-shan was equipped to communicate with two 
thousand square miles of the battle area, and hitherto so 
important, hung useless in their fittings, and wires began to 
be straggled about the roads. Broken telegraphs are as 
pitiful in their aspect as disheveled and slatternly women, 
and are as eloquent of the desertion of man. The telegraph 
manager, left without orders and suspecting the worst, unable 
to leave his post, assumed a reckless but confident air. 

Such was the center on the afternoon of the second, its 
importance overcome by events both on the east and the 
west. It was unable with all the bluster of its siege artillery 
to make the Japanese believe that the day of fortune was not 

39i 



The 'Tragedy of Russia 



along the west where for two days the carnage had been 
greatest. 

Wounded men on the evening of the second came out of 
all roads and paths in twos and threes behind the south 
front as I passed from the center to the position west of 
Mukden. Immense trains of baggage were also en route to 
the rear, up the Pai-t'a-p'u road. Throughout the zone of 
military roads and towns reaching ten miles to Mukden the 
Red Cross depots, forage, fuel, engineers, sappers, and quar- 
termasters' camps and ammunition parks were being dis- 
mantled. Chang-shan-mu-t'un, at the middle of the Fu- 
shun railway where Kouropatkin had his headquarters all 
winter, was deserted, and passing near, in the road, alone in 
his carriage loaded with baggage, I saw with regret gal- 
lant old General Alexeieff making his way to the rear. A 
little farther back along the south bank of the Hun, when 
I made my last visit to the center, on the third, the last 
worried stragglers of the First Siberian Corps, were hur- 
riedly making their way with wild looks toward the be- 
leagured right flank. In the level, bare plain between the 
Fu-shun railroad and the Hun, where they made their way 
through sun and little flurries of dust, long native cart-trains 
of hay, bread, and sakhali (dried bread bits), just arrived 
on the wild and lonely scene, were being turned back to Tieh- 
ling, Kirin and Kuan-ch'eng-tzii, whence they had come. 

Contemporary with the retreat to the rear and to ob- 
scurity, of the good old General Alexeieff, was the return of 
the First Siberian Corps from the east, now making its way 
to the Mukden-Hsin-min-t'un road. No corps, perhaps, that 
ever existed, had a more checkered and tragic history. Twice 
the shuttlecock of court adventure commanders not more 
than one-third of its original personnel remained at the be- 
ginning of the battle, when it was in reserve west of the Hun 
River north of Chan-tan. At the commencement of the 

392 



Battle of Mukden 



battle it was started eastward and followed the military rail- 
road and Su-chia-t'un and Pai-t'a-p'u military road, doing no 
fighting, but exhausting itself in vain marches at the orders 
of the commander-in-chief, who expected the main Japanese 
advance to come from the east. Marching four days dia- 
metrically away from the flanking movement of the enemy, 
it careered over an elliptical arc of an hundred and twenty 
versts behind the battle-line the whole length of the main 
position like a comet, to meet with nearly total destruction at 
Ta-shih-ch'iao and Yu-hung-t'un, northwest of Mukden. 

The effect upon the mind of all this spectacle of the center 
was depressing, for it showed how, with ironical and deadly 
recurrence another impressive and showy fortress position of 
the Russians was falling before the irresistible onslaught of 
the Japanese. The siege works and all the interminable 
military paraphernalia of a thousand square miles of this 
sanguinary theater were going, as it were, like jack-straws. 
I remembered now with what anticipation this present grand 
and awful moment had been awaited by the army, a part 
of which, at any rate, I had known somewhat intimately; 
among some with abnegation and soldierly anxiety and 
courage, among others with reckless determination and thirst 
for adventure, medals, and promotion, and among the 
thoughtful with awe and dread — the elders generally pessi- 
mistic and apprehensive, the youth usually boastful and 
braggart with blind, unbounded, admirable, but puppy faith 
in their commander-in-chief. 

The right was now hinging on Lin-shen-p'u, and the 
Japanese had turned the line so far around as to command the 
Hsin-min-t'un road, where they nearly cut off the retreat of 
a brigade of railway guards that had to rejoin the line of 
defense by a detour to the north, coming in by way of the 
Imperial Northern Tombs, where they fell in with re-enforce- 
ments. The front was now about twenty versts from Muk- 

393 



The Tragedy of Russia 



den on the southwest, where the Russian losses along the left 
bank of the Hun had alone been ten thousand. On the third 
the Japanese took Su-hu-chia-p'u on the Hun, and pushed 
up to Mo-chia-p'u, where they arrived on the fourth, and 
where the Russians destroyed two bridges and prepared to 
fall further back. At the same time the region of the Vil- 
lage of Yen-shi-t'un, six versts farther north, and, later, Yu- 
hun-t'un, became the scenes of conflicts continuing with great, 
and often diabolical energy for five days. 

General Bilderling, commanding the Third Army, moved 
his headquarters from near Su-chia-t'un (Kao-lao-tzu) to a 
village near the bridge-head, east of the railway. 

In four days the Japanese marched forty versts, fighting 
four desperate and successful battles, turning the Russian 
right from the parallel to the meridian. This adroit and 
masterful achievement would not perhaps have so much 
amazed the Russian armies had it not shielded the advance 
of General Nogi's Port Arthur Army, whose presence be- 
came now positively known by the capture of prisoners in the 
vicinity of Yu-hun-t'un. This event disclosed the imminent 
fate of the Sha River line and electrified the armies with the 
alarm, " Nogi is flanking! " 

Japanese shells were breaking in sight of the city walls of 
Mukden, along the west. Native refugees began to arrive 
from all roads leading in from the southwest and west, 
scared, and some of them wounded. Japanese prisoners, ex- 
hausted by two days of sleepless toil and hunger, were sleep- 
ing under guard inside the line of redoubts that extended 
from the Imperial Northern Tombs south along the swamp- 
land to the Hun, inside Mo-chia-p'u, like dead men, unable 
to walk or to remain awake. 

There had now ascended enough incense and supplication 
on high from the Russian nation and the army to almost 
smoke the Christian God out of his heaven. And the only 

394 



Battle of Mukden 



answer that came was, that Nogi was flanking! Each day 
at dawn the artillery along the west broke out in a deafening 
unbroken cannonade loud enough it seemed to awaken the 
dead, subsiding during the morning and renewing itself again 
in the afternoon. 

On the third, when his First Siberian Corps began at last to 
arrive at the railway settlement where he had his headquar- 
ters train, Kouropatkin announced that he was satisfied with 
the progress of the battle. On the fourth, when the First 
Siberian Corps prepared to move up the Hsin-min-t'un road, 
Kouropatkin reassured the army and rode in person along 
the western position, appealing to the infantrymen to stick 
tenaciously and unfailingly to the dirt where they stood, for 
it was upon them that he relied; to the cavalry to do their 
duty, for it was upon them that he relied ; to the artillery, for 
it was upon them that he relied. The populace standing on 
buildings and railway trucks at the Mukden station, saw him 
ride along as they watched the Japanese shrapnel breaking 
over the frozen swamp and kao-liang land far inside the re- 
doubts, and the Japanese in turn could see them and could 
hear the whistle of the locomotives and watch the railway 
traffic from their position between Yu-hun-t'un and Ta-shih- 
ch'iao. 

Mukden, the ancient capital, was awed but undisturbed, 
and her people contemplated almost with indifference the 
bursting shell along the hitherto quiet and unmolested west. 
Riding rapidly out to the west, we crossed the track of the 
commander-in-chief, where a soldier, still flushed with pride 
from the praises and exhortations which General Kouro- 
patkin had just given the line there, told us what he had 
heard. He spoke with pride of the infantry, of which he was 
one, referred slightingly to the cavalry, and said that it was 
upon themselves that the defense of the line depended. " The 
commander-in-chief," he said, " had said so." It was even- 

395 



The Tragedy of Russia 



ing, and a cold wind was blowing where he stood by his little 
camp-fire. A long, thin line of troops was advancing against 
the sun, on our left. It was the infantry, who remain the 
reliance and bulwark of armies through all the metamorpho- 
sis of firearms and the advance of science — the man with the 
rifle and bayonet and camp-fire, who clings to the dirt where 
he crouches. 

For eight versts along the line of redoubts, immediately 
north of the Hun, there had for two days been a continuous 
and acrid artillery conflict, darkened and made terrible by 
infantry charges and assaults, especially at Yen-shi-t'un, while 
the Japanese broke shrapnel at Ta-p'u, within two versts of 
the great railway bridge over the Hun, which more and more 
appeared to be Oku's objective. At the same time Nogi's 
uninterrupted advance northward could be traced by the 
cannon sounds and shell-bursts visible at the Hsin-min-t'un 
road. At evening I reached the Hun River railway bridge 
where, from the abutments could be seen, by the perpetual 
explosions marking distinctly the line of contact along the 
southwest and south, that the Russians had fallen back before 
Oku from their hitherto impregnable redoubt of Lin-shen- 
p'u. The line now hinged on Sha-ho-p'u, a small village east 
of the railway, in line with the old railway embankment lead- 
ing northwest to Mo-chia-p'u. A long train of hospital 
trucks rolled slowly by over the great bridge en route north- 
ward. Within a quarter of an hour eighteen hundred 
wounded passed over the bridge to Mukden. In addition, 
trains of hospital-carts loaded with wounded wound along 
the lanes from the southwest and west, all making their way 
to Mukden hospitals and hospital trains. 

From Chan-t'an to Tao-t'ai-tzu, Mo-chia-p'u, Yen-shi-t'un 
and Ta-shih-ch'iao was four days. In four days the history 
of the turning of the right flank was written, and Kouro- 
patkin, who relinquished reluctantly his plans and appre- 

396 



Battle of Mukden 



hensions on the east and awaited with intense anxiety the 
arrival of his First Siberian Corps at the railway settlement, 
was now preparing to break Nogi's advance by a concerted 
attack at the Hsin-min-t'un road. To co-operate in this, 
troops and artillery withdrawn from the apex of the line be- 
tween the railway and the old embankment south of the Hun, 
poured up the railway. The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Divi- 
sions came up abreast of the settlement, and parts of the 
Sixteenth Corps advanced to the vicinity of the Imperial 
Northern Tombs. Before I describe this scene, let us take a 
last look at the center and the east at the events which his 
military critics claim to have been the unworthy cause of 
Kouropatkin's great military error in moving the First Sibe- 
rian Corps eastward. 

All now realized that we would have but little time to 
observe the career of the east and center, for the retreat to 
the Hun was imminent, and the distance and the insistent, 
clamorous right flank seemed to relegate the fate of the east 
to the adjustment of another world. 

The cloudy skies and raw wind had given place to sun- 
shine and calm, and the snows had about disappeared from 
the sunny places — a Godsend to the unlucky soldier whose 
whole existence is chance. My last visit to the south line was 
swift, and I felt the strange attraction which our fortifica- 
tions seemed to exert over the Russians, and especially, as the 
history of the battles shows, over General Kouropatkin. I 
felt loath to give up the great Sha-ho line which our side 
had won by sacrifice and created by the employment of its 
vast engineering organization. The Russians had hiber- 
nated so much that they had grown nearly superstitious of 
the efficacy of the earthworks in which we had so long bur- 
rowed. It was with a bound feeling, that, riding along, I 
realized that this false sense of security had taken hold of 
me as well, and I hurried away. 

397 



The Tragedy of Russia 



The constant battling had become so monotonous and 
common as to be nearly vulgar. The novelty of bursting 
shells was as commonplace as the clamor of a street piano, 
while the roar of the cannonading, now close, now distant, 
was forgotten in the contemplation of a cup of tea. The 
officers of the center were discussing the movements of the 
enemy opposite them. They believed from the evidence fur- 
nished by the capture of Japanese that only the division of 
the Imperial Guards formerly under Kuroki, and probably 
now detached to support Nodzu, together with some miscel- 
laneous troops, made the attacks during February 28th, 
March 1st, and March 2d in the center, while the turning 
of their left in the mountains appeared to them to have been 
done by three Japanese divisions extending from Kao-t'ou- 
ling eastward. 

The impression in the center was that the Japanese had 
shifted their troops westward, probably their main strength, 
though there was certainly no evidence of this. Not a night 
had now passed since the twenty-third of February that the 
Japanese had not attacked the entire Sha River line with 
monotonous trip-hammer cannon-fire, brain-racking infantry 
demonstrations and deadly assaults, while on Er-ta-kou, 
Novogorod and Pootiloff at unexpected moments fell eleven- 
inch shells, and along the position as far east as beyond Ma- 
chun-tan the Japanese had been unceasingly assaulting the 
Russian works. At Keng-ta-jen-shan, in the left center, 
shrapnel unexpectedly bursting over the headquarters of 
General Sassulitch and the Second Siberian Corps in the first 
Japanese attack created consternation and panic among 
the sutlers gathered in the headquarters' village, who in- 
stantly stampeded. At the position overlooking Pien-chia- 
p'u-tzu, where on two eminences were observatories for the 
artillery, the Japanese artillerists succeeded in killing a Rus- 
sian colonel of artillery and another officer observer who 

398 



Battle of Mukden 



from these points of observation were directing the fire of the 
Russian batteries. 

At this point the Russian casualties were given as being 
three to four hundred. The Japanese offensive greatly sur- 
prised the Russians and rendered them doubtful of their con- 
victions. As the battle increased on the right flank they be- 
lieved that the Japanese line here was more and more attenu- 
ated and its operations subordinate to that main event. At 
the same time, notwithstanding the security of their fortified 
position, the Japanese frontal assaults were regarded as terri- 
ble, and the infantry generals wondered where all the Japa- 
nese troops came from. At Kao-t'ou-ling the Cossacks re- 
ported the Japanese using their dead for barricading and 
parapets. It was cold in the mountains and the dead were 
frozen in a night. Each morning, however, came the report 
that the Japanese were repulsed. In the center a large batch 
of prisoners was now reported taken, at Keng-ta-jen-shan 
the Japanese thrown back with difficulty, but finally with 
great loss. In Rennencamp's positions the two sides surged 
back and forth over several miles, cross-firing and enfilading 
each other. News of this distant line was scanty, for all in- 
terest centered at Mukden, where the thunder was too loud 
for other events to be heard — it shut out all other thunder. 



399 



CHAPTER XXXIV 

SURRENDER OF THE REFUGE OF THE LAND FORCES 

THE MANCHURIAN CAPITAL 

THE battle was very hard now, as hard and wincing 
as the face of disaster itself, which had grown as 
close to the Russians as a Siamese twin. Officers 
and popes hesitated to speak of the future, and they had for- 
gotten to mention victory. Not even " for the moment M 
was victory theirs, nor did they " for the moment," as had 
been their phrase in so many battles, entertain any convic- 
tions of success. Only the general staff ventured so far as 
to make use of the claim that the army was winning, and only 
the army contractor and merchant boasted any enthusiasm 
for the struggle which was not his to endure. Victory was 
a thing so precious and so august and unapproachable that 
those who by this time realized its blessedness were quite 
willing to die for it or to snuff themselves out as those vota- 
ries and slaves who sacrifice themselves to appease their god, 
though they may not approach him. Men who are merely 
earnest and honest will, in the end, die of the very mon- 
strousness of vexation and c'hagrin at being undone. The 
imperial adventurers who instigated these crimes will not 
believe this. They will contend that the martyrs of Man- 
churia were possessed of a cause which it was quite worthy 
to die for, and that Russians who died there gloriously died 
for the cause of Russian power and glory. 

The decisive struggle of all the eastern forces was on. 
This was the supreme struggle for which there had been a 
year of fencing and maneuvering on the part of both nations. 

400 



Surrender of the Manchurian Capital 

Port Arthur had been for months only a detached redoubt 
to divide the strength of the Japanese. Vladivostok and the 
home fleet were only a menace and not an active or present 
danger. The accounting with Japan was in the heart of 
Manchuria. It was here that the Czar and the Mikado were 
measuring swords and strong right arms. The supreme 
struggle, therefore, was here hot-foot and inexorable. It 
was here, and it was along the west — such a battle, already 
eight days in being, having more than any battle of any time, 
a surge and roll as of a great sea. There was yet no abate- 
ment, no arrest of cannonade, of infantry assault or of car- 
nage. The mortality on the west and in the remote east was 
mounting to such a percentage as former armies had not 
endured for longer than a day or two days, or for a few 
hours. Human strength, therefore, was nearing its limit. 

Knowing as much as a commander ever might know of his 
enemy's intentions and maneuvers, Kouropatkin, though 
according to expert critics having blundered in the use of the 
First Siberian Corps, yet declared himself satisfied when on 
the third this daring army reached his side and stood ready 
to sacrifice itself at his command, and did so. It was a 
profound moment. This glorious corps and its gallant com- 
mander, General Gerngrosz, had good reason to feel them- 
selves abused, for they had been buffeted about behind the 
lines to no purpose for four days, careening, one might say, 
as an innocuous and truant lid might careen over the stormy 
deck of a vessel, to end at last in the machinery or go over- 
board into the sea. The spectacle, too, of Kouropatkin, the 
general of the whole army of the " Eastern Empire," who 
had never himself won any battle, welcoming this glorious, 
battered and exhausted miscellany as the last hope of his life, 
emitting an involuntary great sigh of relief, and hoping 
vainly that the lives of thousands and tens of thousands had 
thus been snatched from accident and saved to the services of 

401 



ASHTOfu 



The Tragedy of Russia 



the state, and on the morning of the fifth reiterating to the 
Grand Army that he was satisfied with the course of the 
battle, is a study of which time may take especial note: it is 
a solemn paragraph for history. Immortality in the shape 
of misadventure is more amazing than mere greatness when 
it is thrust upon a man. 

The First Siberian Corps was in sight of the western line 
when Kouropatkin gave out his personal assurances to the 
Grand Army on the third. And when he was able to strike 
with it on the fifth, he repeated his assurances of content with 
the progress of the battle, and sought to infuse some enthu- 
siasm into the line which he so much needed for the main 
event of the war and of his life. His reasoning to the world 
was that the enemy had so far extended his line as to greatly 
weaken it, and had exhausted his strength and reached the 
limit of his dash. He therefore would proceed to break the 
enemy's line, which he held to be at the mercy of the Russian 
army. For this purpose he had selected for his attempt the 
Hsin-min-t'un road. But to believe that the army took hope 
from this possibility or presumption would be erroneous. 
The situation in the Russian army, as far as it was possible 
to discover by constant visitation of the lines, was tragic. 
The army was thoroughly a-wearied of good promise and 
was hoping for the end of the war. 

On the fifth, Kouropatkin proposed, therefore, to break 
Nogi's advance and drive him back. Drive Nogi back! 
Yes, Kouropatkin had concentrated his reserve army on the 
Hsin-min-t'un road for that very purpose — it had no other 
raison d'etre. I remember with what a strange sound this 
proposition struck the ear as it flew along the line, and what 
incredulity it raised, and satire, and sneers. There were no 
such military and bombastic proclamations as characterized 
the battle of the Sha-ho. Kouropatkin indulged in no vain 
and showy boasting; he was playing his last card. 

402 



Surrender of the Manchurian Capital 

The free use of the Hsin-min-t'un railway by themselves 
and the long employment of the Hsin-min-t'un road as a 
line of communication for officers, stores, ammunitions, tele- 
grams, mails, messengers, etc., inspired the report within the 
Russian lines that Nogi was basing his army upon Hsin-min- 
t'un. He had seared and excoriated the entire Russian 
redoubt position exposed to him, hammering his opponents 
into their shallow defenses, into the very furrows of the 
ground which they occupied, with an expenditure of life, 
determination and persistence almost unknown, and had 
crushed and thundered on northward as though he might 
never stop. When it appeared that he had reached the 
limit of his stride, by a kind of tactical magic or legerdemain 
the Russians afterward asserted, he produced " another 
division " that struck consternation into the hearts of the 
defenders of the redoubts and the staff of the commander- 
in-chief. 

In this situation Kouropatkin drew up in the Hsin-min- 
t'un road the noble First Siberian Corps, which had been 
so cruelly decimated at San-chia-p'u, but now revamped 
with a scratch miscellany under Gerngrosz. This was Kouro- 
patkin's great move, his only initiative in the battle. 

With much kissing of ikons and supplication before the 
throne of the god of battles and of chaos — for it was Sun- 
day — the Russian army fell upon Nogi's center. 

Battles had gotten to be so long in duration in Man- 
churia that though death were " vomited in great floods " 
we took our accustomed sleep when night came, except for 
our irregular duties. Now, however, the siege-guns on the 
west and the whole action was in such unusual places that 
it aroused the entire population of Mukden and its suburbs 
before dawn, to the last eventful days. 

On March 4th the forces fighting Oku and Nogi in the 
battle of the Russian right flank were the Seventeenth Corps 

403 



The Tragedy of Russia 



and the Fifth Corps on the railway south of the Hun River; 
the Eighth Corps on the Hun and northward; the Tenth 
Corps opposite Mukden on the west, and the first Siberian 
Corps and part of the Sixteenth Corps in reserve northwest 
of Mukden. 

On the early morning of the fifth — which was Sunday — 
while the battle on the Hsin-min-t'un road w 7 as being devel- 
oped, I proceeded to the bank in the city and drew a sum 
of money which I thought likely to see me through the 
trouble which we were about to embrace. The manager 
of the bank told me that he had received orders to be ready 
at any moment to leave, and that he expected to go shortly 
to Harbin, though he would probably leave current accounts 
at Kung-chu-ling ! Such a confession of distrust in the out- 
come of Kouropatkin's hopes and plans may pass into history 
without comment, as it needs no elucidation. Though the 
attempt to break Nogi's advance had only just been inaugu- 
rated, the bank had received orders, and the manager 
expected to retreat two hundred and eighty miles to the rear, 
though he might leave a portion of urgent bank transactions 
to be carried on one hundred and fifty miles in the rear! 
I then rode out to the south and circled around toward 
the railway. Outside the mud wall on the south were many 
more baggage trains than I had before seen moving around 
by the east wall and on northward. West of the Yu-lu, or 
so-called " Mandarin road," I passed four or five captured 
guns of a Japanese field battery under guard of a few soldiers. 
A sentry came out to arrest me, but I told him that I was of 
an officer's rank and went on. At the military road leading 
north from the bridges over the Hun nearest the railway, 
soldiers were drawing a siege-gun, the last of the big Russian 
guns from the Sha River. They had swung their rifles and 
haversacks and coat-rolls over the shaft, which was crowded 
full right up to the muzzle, and were themselves trudging 

404 



Surrender of the Manchurian Capital 

along with that indolent leisure which, when observed in the 
Orientals, we profess on all occasions to scorn. There were 
perhaps twenty-five of these men all tugging at ropes hitched 
to the gun-carriage, and proceeding like truant, reluctant 
schoolboys thinking of home. 

That the siege-guns were being brought up from the center 
at the railway, where the Japanese had forced back the Rus- 
sian line past Lin-shen-p'u, and occupied a large stretch of 
the former siege-gun position, was a portentous thing to con- 
template — the army was strictly on the defensive and trying 
to save its siege-guns, nearly two hundred of which, each with 
a maximum range of ten versts — or about six miles — had 
been for weeks stationed in this zone, which the Japanese 
now partly occupied. A detachment from an engineer corps 
was hurriedly, with Chinese assistance, laying field railways 
and connecting up the bridge-head with the railway settle- 
ment. In the dunes closer to the railway was the immutable 
transport, stalled in the sand and snapping tugs and ham- 
strings. Refugees from Mo-chia-p'u crossed the railway 
embankment going east toward Mukden, while on the west 
side of the embankment re-enforcements of artillery and 
infantry moved south to the bank of the Hun, for Oku was 
wedging in at Mo-chia-p'u, and seemed bent on reaching the 
Hun railway bridge. Passing on to Yen-shi-t'un I found 
among the infantry supports there two officers of a company 
belonging to the Fourteenth Division of the Eighth Corps, 
who stated that they had been seven days in the battlefield 
without shelter, with irregular food, and sometimes none. 
They spoke hopelessly, and with their men lying on the 
ground plainly showed the strain of a terrible week. Shrap- 
nel was breaking around them, and in a cave in the ground 
they had stored two unexploded shrapnel shells, which they 
invited me to examine. It was plainly visible that the fires 
of resistance and vigilance were burning out. 

405 



The Tragedy of Russia 



11 If they come," said one of the officers — meaning the 
Japanese — " we cannot oppose them. We have lain here 
on the bare, frozen ground now three days and nights, and 
we will be killed or pressed back." 

Initiative was of course at an end. On their faces they 
showed the record of their own sufferings and were merely, 
as the Chinese say, " getting over the days." A little farther 
along were the dead bodies of mounted infantry horses lying 
where they had been killed in the infantry lines, and infantry 
were scattered in wide-open order for a thousand yards, 
lying or sitting on the ground where shrapnel was constantly 
breaking. The men when stricken were soon taken away. 
Coming up behind us I could see the orderlies dismount and 
walk for half a mile so as not to attract the enemy by their 
approach. The ground was still frozen, and at night, when 
there was biting frost, the soldiers were without camp-fires, 
for these would reveal their wretched refuge to the enemy. 
The battle-ground was without shelter and without any 
defenses except the hamlet walls, which were generally 
avoided because they attracted the artillery fire. It was a 
level, haze-fraught plain of bullets and shell, and hundreds 
of scattered thin lines of hunching, crawling men like reapers 
with strange iron and leaden sickles, or like the reaped 
sheaves where they fell over in limp dead bundles. We 
were so close to the thunder that we could see or know little 
of what was happening to others. We knew that the enemy 
was relentless, the tragedy relentless and monotonous. 

Opposite the Hun River railway bridge a great Russian 
demonstration appeared to be in progress to assist the move- 
ment at the Hsin-min-t'un road. In reply Japanese shells 
fell throughout the afternoon at Ta-p'u, two versts west of 
the railway on the Hun. At four o'clock in the afternoon 
was carried out what appeared to be the principal cannonade 
in the northwest on the Hsin-min-t'un road. A bouquet of 

406 




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Surrender of the Manchurian Capital 

shells was bursting on the southwest, and a great explosion 
like an n-inch shell or a powder magazine or fugase, in the 
direction of Su-chia-t'un. Eighty-nine cars of wounded 
passed northward over the railway, for five days close fight- 
ing had raged on the west. In returning to the settlement at 
evening a staff officer of the Second Army stopped to say that 
for February 28th, March 1st and 2d the number of 
wounded on the west was given as nine thousand ! 

Along the railway there was now a continuous military 
traffic between the Third Army, which was on the end below 
the Hun and Mukden, and the Eighth Corps and Tenth Corps 
of the Second Army and Mukden settlement, where Kaul- 
bars had his headquarters; and up to and along the Hsin- 
min-t'un road. At the south edge of the settlement were 
congregated stragglers and malingerers, and among the zem- 
lyankas there, in every kind of vehicle, and on stretchers, were 
the wounded, while the dead were being laid out on the 
ground with no one to bury them. 

The general staff was beginning to be desperate, for it 
had circulated reports of success on the south and east. 
The army newspaper, struck off daily in a covered railway- 
truck at the station, said on the fifth that until then, 
though the losses were considerable, the battle had been 
successfully waged. These false assurances, though they had 
no effect in arousing, may have had the effect of temporarily 
sustaining the army. There was an air of composure every- 
where in this area, where anything was to be expected, though 
it is certain that the most intelligent and the ignorant alike 
were in the situation of a man who is afraid to look around 
for dread of what he may see. 

At dawn of the sixth the guns on the west seemed even 
nearer, and wounded were being brought into the temple 
where I lived. The open ground outside the temple was a 
busy camp of transport and Red Cross contingents where 

407 



The Tragedy of Russia 



before was a cuckoo's solitude out of whose solemn quiet I 
had for days issued forth to the positions. Beyond this as I 
made my way to the Hsin-min-t'un road, where Kouropat- 
kin's effort was likely to be that day decided, I met a string 
of refugees, empty-handed, slowly filing along. They were 
fresh from the battlefield, and among them was a young 
woman who came up to me and pointed to a shrapnel wound 
in her right breast. At her left she was suckling her babe. 
She had mistaken me for a Red Cross surgeon, and asked me 
for help. The native men and women with whom she was 
fleeing were hopeless and incredibly helpless, and as for 
myself, having no first-aid dressings, I was almost as helpless, 
and could only direct her to the English Mission, fully two 
miles away, where there was a large hospital for Chinese, 
already overrun with refugees. 

It was the second day of the attempt to break Nogi's 
line. Where the road crossed the railway there were still 
other refugees. The battle of Kouropatkin's movement 
up the road was still some distance off, and I decided to go 
to the left flank of his attempt. I struck out in the direction 
of Yu-hung-t'un, made a deflection toward the line and 
entered the Village of Lin-kuan-t'un. All the hamlets and 
villages were completely deserted by Chinese, of whom not 
a soul was to be seen. I went into a broken court to conceal 
my mare in the shelter of an old house, and found it occu- 
pied by three Red Cross officers and sanitarians. They 
brought tea and questioned me about the battle, and among 
other things they asked whether America was not helping 
Japan; if Japan could get money for the war; what I thought 
of Russian soldiers; did not Americans sympathize with the 
Japanese; was not Russia dishonored by making peace now; 
had she not lost the honor of her arms if she stopped the 
war now? 

Tn answer to all these questions, which were those of men 

408 



Surrender of the Manchurian Capital 

who, like all I had met on the field, were disheartened and 
spiritless as far as their attitude toward the war and toward 
victory at Mukden was concerned, I replied that America 
was not helping Japan; that Japan got money because she 
was successful; the Russian soldiers were not schooled and 
were mostly peasants, while the Japanese soldiers were not 
only highly intelligent, but were schooled and alert in 
mechanics, and therefore keen with arms. Americans, I 
said, knew perhaps more about Japan than about most other 
countries, while only the ill-fame of Russia had penetrated 
America. The Russian soldier, I continued, had honored 
himself and Russian arms in the defense of Port Arthur, 
whatever might be the criticisms of the conduct of Russian 
fighters elsewhere. 

Present at this interesting interview was a young Russian 
correspondent in whose breast raged such a strife of convic- 
tion that he was much depressed. I believe he was a revo- 
lutionist. We went out of the compound together and 
turned into a road leading to the south. As we did so we 
met a squadron of cavalry coming in behind the hamlet. It 
was the immediate guard of General Prince Orbeliani, com- 
mander of the Daghastan Cossacks brigade, who had known 
every prominent war correspondent. Orbeliani stopped me 
in the road to tell me about General McClellan, and to give 
me the history of the American cavalry saddle which I 
rode. He spoke of Forbes and Macgahan, and then inquired 
about Francis D. Millet, the correspondent and painter, as 
though he expected him to be there, and as though his 
absence was incomprehensible. As Millet belonged to that 
charmed circle in which Forbes moves as an immortal I felt 
in this memory of the past as though I was in the presence 
of the dead, whose portraits and reminiscences I had seen 
in the Century Magazine many years before. He spoke of 
those who figured in my perception as demigods, as though 

409 



The 'Tragedy of Russia 



they were men. It was as though it were a mere idiosyncrasy 
of Millet that he had not come and was not there to meet 
him. At the close of the war I met Millet, whom I found a 
hale comrade, still enthusiastic about war, and I realized that 
in fact he might well have been with me. 

General Prince Orbeliani was a remarkable character. 
He spoke English and had the reputation of speaking a 
score of other languages and dialects. He had known every 
distinguished foreigner who had visited Central Asia. 

Southwest of Mukden settlement I turned to look at the 
re-enforcements making north when a general of Cossacks 
rode past alone. He was without even an orderly, was wildly 
riding, and looked anxiously away into the distance as though 
he did not see me. He made but a sorry figure, and my 
sympathy went out to him. He had entertained me at his 
bivouac on the lower Hun, where he had been a bon cama- 
rade, and since then I had not seen him. This had been in 
the winter, and the last thing I remembered about him 
was his excellent imitation of the antics of the monkey 
in illustration of the creatures, as he called them, that 
were the army's and Russia's antagonists. Since that time 
his proud regiments had been ignominiously driven out 
of their bivouac and sent flying fifteen miles to the rear! 
And here was he riding wildly alone, driven to ignominious 
apprehension and confusion by the men whom he had so 
ostentatiously professed to despise. 

Continuing southwest I passed just behind the line of 
redoubts and stopped in a field back of Yen-shi-t'un, which 
seemed to be in the midst of the battle, for Nogi had begun 
a counter attack there and at Yu-hung-t'un to relieve the 
menace at Ta-shih-ch'iao. Here a general and staff officers 
came to survey the battlefield, and we stayed until the sun 
went down, in a cold wind, listening to the monotonous scour 
of shells and watching the Red Cross carts, which were to be 

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Surrender of the Manchurian Capital 

seen in all directions meandering through the roads of the 
flat plain. All the southwestern horizon was flooded with 
a milky smoke and haze from forage and buildings fired by 
the Russians in their retreat two and three days before, and 
from the cannon and fires started by exploding Russian shells. 

The losses were at this time estimated at from twenty to 
thirty thousand, including two hundred and eighty-five offi- 
cers, among whom was a general, and the Japanese were per- 
sisting in their counter-move at Yu-hung-t'un and Yen-shi-t'un, 
nine versts west of Mukden walls. Yu-hung-t'un was taken 
and retaken, and was now Russian, now Japanese. Now 
for the first time we learned what the great struggle with 
Nogi meant. The combatants there lay dead in each other's 
grasp, thick in streets, courts, and dwellings on the ex- 
posed side, their rifles and bayonets and sabers wrenched 
and twisted and sometimes disintegrated by great concus- 
sions and flying missiles. The garrison was at unexpected 
intervals subjected to frequent and awful shelling. The 
wretched village could not be surrendered, for the possession 
of it by the Japanese would enable them to shell the settle- 
ment with their field-guns. The First Siberian Regiment of 
the First Siberian Corps — called " The Empress' Own " — 
had lost more than a thousand men. General Kouropatkin 
reported also that of all the Urevsky Regiment — originally 
about twenty-four hundred — only six hundred and nineteen 
men and two officers survived at five o'clock. The tragedy 
of Tou-san-p'u in the battle of the Sha-ho was repeated here. 

Toward night gloomy conjectures pervaded the line. 
Officers asked of each other: " Isn't Kouropatkin breaking 
the Japanese center? Does he not crush the insatiable and 
audacious Nogi? " As it was now evening I returned from 
the lines by way of the Hun River bridge and along the 
railway, where I found the usual malingerers and traffic of 
battle, and when I reached the settlement a horseman 

411 



The Tragedy of Russia 



appeared from the direction of the commander-in-chief's 
train and said that General Kouropatkin had signed at five 
o'clock, an hour before, an ordinance for the surrender of 
the Sha River position and the retreat of the Grand Army 
to the Hun River position, along the line from Ying-p'an in 
the east to Fu-shun, Fu-ling and the Hun River bridge- 
head ! By this the Grand Army fell back ten to twenty miles ! 

I paused for a moment to see if there might be a visible 
effect of this event; to myself realize its meaning. But the 
animated thousands around us were oblivious of this ordi- 
nance and were to remain ignorant of it for two days yet. 
Nogi is still flanking, thought I. Kouropatkin and Gern- 
grosz have failed at the Hsin-min-t'un road. Kouropatkin 
is involved in a race up the railway with Nogi and needs the 
ten miles of troops between the Sha River and the Hun 
River with which to overtake him. The determination of 
the flankers was telling. 

This second day of Kouropatkin's attempt to break Nogi's 
advance had added nothing new to the history of the battle 
of the right flank, except that there was more and more 
prophecy of " that black and precipitous abyss whither all 
things are tending." The battle was ten days old, and no 
battle had lasted so long before. Captain William Judson, 
the American military agent, prophesied on the fifth that 
Kouropatkin had lost the battle and soon after he told 
the general staff that they had lost and informed them that 
he would remain at Mukden at the close of the battle. " I 
shall remain in Mukden for safety, for it will be a mere 
chance if the army escapes," said he. It was chance that 
so much of it escaped as did. 

The cannonading continued undiminished from an hour 
before dawn till dark, and the losses of the fight had 
exceeded the losses in the battle of Liao-yang, and in magni- 
tude the battle promised to equal that of the Sha River. 

412 



Surrender of the Manchurian Capital 

The Japanese losses were reckoned to be much greater than 
the Russian by the Russians themselves. The reports of 
success on the south and east had now been forgotten. The 
carefully circulated stories that Rennencamp had reached 
Liao-yang had had no power to arouse or encourage. At 
noon the advance of Japanese infantry provoked the Rus- 
sian artillery to such fury that the shells fired many buildings 
and combustibles, the smoke of which joined the rising dust, 
and at evening the vast plain was enveloped in murky clouds, 
through which the battle could no longer be discerned, but 
out of which it roared until the sun sunk down into it and 
was lost. 

Kouropatkin, having reassured his generals, took solely 
upon himself the responsibility for what he was about to do, 
and now signed in his car at Mukden the ordinance for with- 
drawing the south line to the prepared position on the Hun 
River, sealing forever the fate of the magnificent Sha-ho 
position, still creditably held ! 

The hues of night were alone adequate to my sensations 
as I crossed the settlement. The most independent observer 
cannot remain indifferent to the misfortunes of his strangest 
companions. Something of the gloom of nightfall took 
possession of me. Miles of lighted trains extended on the 
west and south of the settlement, and electric wires for light 
and telephones and telegraphs were strung riotously over 
roofs and poles and trucks. Mukden settlement was now 
like a confused hippodrome, struggling with the gloom, in 
which it looked ten times its real dimensions, and trying to 
bring light unto itself in its wilderness. If one could but 
look, thought I, as I made my way through the suburban 
hamlets to my temple, into the high places in St. Petersburg 
as the telegraph strikes off the inexorable truth, " Nogi is 
again flanking," striking it off with laconic, trip-hammer 
precision again and yet again, as inevitably day by day as 

413 



The Tragedy of Russia 



had been the setting of the sun, for six days, what gloom of 
depression and chilled hearts might he not witness there 
and in every place where the Grand Army of the Russias 
in its stronghold at Mukden, China's " Second Capital " — 
queen of all Manchuria — was breathlessly expected at last 
to crush an hitherto irrepressible enemy. At the same time, 
were one privileged to look into yet more exclusive pre- 
cincts in Tokyo as the telegraph struck off the words, " The 
Russians are giving way," what calm and heartfelt grati- 
tude to God in the style of Bushido, eloquent with the golden 
silence of Japan, might he not have witnessed in that com- 
munion of high patriots! 

Before the ordinance to retire to the Hun was signed, 
General Kaulbars, commander of the Second Army, begged 
for another trial at crushing the Japanese on the west. 

When the order reached the commander of the First Army 
and his generals there was consternation and chagrin. Under 
the belief that they were fighting an equal battle with the right 
flank they misunderstood the summons. General Rennen- 
camp telegraphed asking the commander-in-chief to permit 
him to hold his position where his Eastern Detachment 
had been attacked daily for eight days, but had taken three 
machine guns and was still holding fast. One of his infantry 
regiments, under General Eck, had lost sixty-five per cent, of 
its strength. General Eck said he could not understand where 
the Japanese got so many soldiers. Farther west, at Kao- 
t'ou-ling, the Cossacks reported that the mountain ridges 
grew perceptibly higher by the heaping up of dead bodies 
by the Japanese for barricades. The First Army, therefore, 
was still holding its position, its generals intent on Kouro- 
patkin's beating Nogi. But Kouropatkin, knowing the army 
better than it knew itself, had no alternative. For if the 
line once gave way he knew there was nothing more to 
be done. 

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Surrender of the Manchurian Capital 

Oku's and Nogi's " iron brigades," as a Russian officer 
called them, threatened to crush the entire west. They had 
flanked it for six consecutive days and forced the Russian 
army, as they intended, out of its stronghold on the Sha-ho, 
and that army was now compelled to abandon a great zone 
hallowed by its blood and planted with its dead — a field 
where countless decorations representing the national sense 
of valor had been won. The region was one thick with 
fortifications, sanitary works, military roads, bridges, tele- 
graphs, telephones, field and permanent railways, camps, 
hospitals, barracks of zemlyankas, and stores of fuel and 
forage, all of which must be surrendered. Upon nearly every 
roadway leading northward from the position could be found 
the field burying-ground begun in the previous September 
after the battle of Liao-yang; first with a little line of graves 
and ever uninterruptedly added to, the line daily stretching 
northward as though it would grow at last to its native heath 
as a vine that reaches out to the source of its life. These 
sacred places with their crosses painted green so as to appear 
less funereal than the white, sometimes devotedly cared for, 
these indigenous sanctuaries eloquent of Russian travail, 
were to be consigned to the neglect of strangers and enemies. 

The controlling genius which withdrew the army from 
Hai-ch'eng, An-shan-chan, Ku-chia-tzii, and Liao-yang, to 
forestall worse disaster, was again taking time by the fore- 
lock, for if the Japanese had not soon broken the west, where 
they had prevailed from the first, they would have broken 
the center. 

On the west it now resembled the siege positions. The 
plain opposite the settlement had been under fire for three 
days, shells breaking only a little beyond the railway station. 
The contest indeed, to judge from the battlefield, appeared 
to be decided. Graves were multiplying where there was 
opportunity to bury; dead animals everywhere disfigured the 

415 



The Tragedy of Russia 



positions, and dead men were now laid out in rows at the 
hospitals, uncovered, and guarded only against dogs. At that 
time it was calculated that by the ninth, one day after the 
arrival of the Grand Army at the Hun — which was fixed for 
the dawn of the eighth — the great contest at Mukden would 
be decided. 

At two o'clock on the morning of the seventh the Japanese 
attacked the Hun position at Mo-chia-p'u, where they had 
arrived on the fourth, with great determination, and at dawn 
the cannonade shifted along toward the north over the eight- 
verst line, where not a day had passed without continuous 
bombardment, and extended to Ta-shih-ch'iao and far 
beyond. 

At dawn as I went out of the door of my court at the 
temple I had to step over the shafts of a cart that had arrived 
in the night. Looking up I saw the dead bodies of two 
officers half reclining in the cart. The dust of the battle- 
field was frozen into their faces, and two horses were feeding 
among their legs on the straw they found there. In the 
same courtyard two Chinese carpenters were hewing out two 
wooden coffins for the bodies. 

The group of temples had in the night been turned into 
a morgue to store for a time the bodies of officers brought 
from the field and to prepare for burial those who were dying 
in numbers in the hospitals near. 

The first report along the lines was that the First Siberian 
Corps had failed. " Gerngrosz has failed, Kouropatkin has 
failed," they were saying, and, " Nogi is flanking." At the 
station reports that " Nogi has another unknown division ' 
circulated like wildfire. Flanking and reflanking, Nogi each 
day by his legerdemain turned anew the amazed Russian 
right. 

The department of censors belonging to the general staff 
was clearing out papers and packing up as I passed through 

416 



Surrender of the Manchurian Capital 

the settlement and on to the west and north of the station. 
After I turned into the Hsin-min-t'un road a heavy cannon- 
ade that began at 10: 30 was carried on apparently in front 
of Pootiloff on the south. The battle on the Hsin-min-t'un 
road was now much nearer. Shells had already fallen in 
the grounds of the Imperial Northern Tombs. At the 
Hou-t'a (a pagoda) there was a group of press corre- 
spondents and military and civilian spectators as I passed, 
and a Russian correspondent who had overtaken me turned 
off and joined them. Keeping straight ahead I passed the 
first line of redoubts which started from the pagoda. Here 
there was an artillery park, and some infantry reserves 
sleeping and lounging in the sun on the escarpments back of 
the tree-branch entanglements, and awaiting their turn. Now 
and again a caisson sallied out hurriedly to a battery a little 
way ahead and returned. Farther on were infantry resting 
behind a hamlet and in the buildings of the hamlet, and in 
others still farther on were Red Cross field-stations into 
which wounded from the west were being carried. As I 
arrived several wounded young Japanese of Nogi's army 
were carried in. One, shot through the head, looked to be 
a boy of seventeen. We crowded together in the little com- 
pound to see them, and the Russian soldiers gathered around 
and silently gazed at these strange little soldier-dwarfs who 
w r ere such bitter antagonists, sometimes gently smoothing 
their rough coverlets. A sanitaire came and poured brandy 
in the mouth of the one shot through the head. 

At the edge of the hamlet of Hsiao-fan-shi-t'un were two 
machine-guns smeared with clay, one set in the stubble, and 
the other under cover of a broken mud wall. Leaving my 
mare in the shelter of the hamlet I walked beyond the line 
of bursting shrapnel and brisants and took a position among 
the mounds of a native graveyard beside the road from where 
the surrounding battlefield could be surveyed. On the right 

417 



The Tragedy of Russia 



a line of Japanese shells extended toward Pa-chia-tzii and out 
of sight. On the left was one of our batteries receiving a 
terrific shelling. The ammunition wagons that were serving 
it got in and out with great excitement and difficulty. Across 
the front, under fire, came a squadron of cavalry in open 
order retiring to low ground, from where now out of view 
they filed in behind the walls of a hamlet and stopped. Past 
me in the road trailed slowly and heavily one after another 
the litters of wounded, borne by soldiers glad to get away 
from the firing line upon any pretext. These files were dis- 
turbed by the shells that fell around them, but the men 
occasionally let their burdens down to rest, easing them 
clumsily in their sad couches. One of the touching spectacles 
of the battlefield is the awkward kindness with which soldiers 
minister to each other. In four successive litters were Japa- 
nese carried along under the shells from their own artillery, 
and, such are the incongruities of the battlefield, I saw the 
big Russian soldiers let them tenderly down in this rain 
of fire, while they respread their coats over them! Back 
of us and to the right and left I could see here and there 
homeless dogs slinking away from where the shrapnel bul- 
lets and brisants beat upon the dry fields, sending up little 
clouds of dust which gave the fields the appearance and 
feeling of being the playground of unseen spirits, as the 
Chinese believe is the case where the whirlwinds of autumn 
and winter gambol. 

I passed back and around this lonely and grewsome field, 
which was that of the main force attacking Nogi's center. 
There were deserted provision depots and abandoned ice 
stores left open to the sun and wind. Enterprises, or the 
wrecks of enterprises like these, when abandoned for battle 
seem animate from their late human associations. 

The center of the battle with Nogi was now shifted far 
to the right, where Kouropatkin, on account of the counter- 

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Surrender of the Manchurian Capital 

attack of the Japanese at Yu-hung-t'un, was falling back to his 
line of redoubts. The Japanese reached Fa-chia-tzu and were 
ready by evening to break the railway in our rear. Batteries 
and men of the south line were racing north, but to no pur- 
pose. It was with great difficulty that Kouropatkin could 
hold Yu-hung-t'un, where perhaps the most awful deeds of 
the battle occurred. Night closed on complete defeat on 
the Hsin-min-t'un road, with the railway exposed and Gen- 
eral Burger, of the Sixteenth Corps, guarding the railway, 
unable to protect it. 

The positions on the south remained throughout the day 
unchanged; the attacks of the Japanese during the night of 
the sixth, having been repulsed at Pootiloff, Keng-ta-jen- 
shan and Kao-t'ou-ling. At the same time the Japanese 
had advanced in their enveloping movement eight miles on 
the Russian right flank. The great gun demonstration con- 
tinued by the Russians along the south from 10:30 in the 
morning, had now raged two days, or since Kouropatkin 
encountered the difficulties of his attempt to best Nogi at 
his own game. At Su-chia-t'un, which was now the great 
hinge of the Russian line, there was an almost continuous 
explosion of shells during the sixth and seventh. At 10 P.M. 
the Russian batteries along the south bombarded the Japa- 
nese positions for two hours, and at midnight the army quietly 
retired from Pootiloff, Novogorod, Er-ta-kou, and all the 
great works celebrated for so long as the Sha-ho position. 

The two dead captains were still at my door when I 
entered at night, and on the morning of the eighth I saw 
that they were no longer alone, for several dead had arrived 
to keep them company. 

The road outside was bustling with transport trains, which 
seemed interminable, and it was difficult to get through them. 
It did not seem possible that any army could have such miles 
upon miles of transport. The questions which the sight of it 

419 



The Tragedy of Russia 



inspired were: Whence come? Whither going? Where are 
their keepers? It was as though the baggage of all the living 
and dead that ever fought in Manchuria was haunting that 
spot. 

To the left of the Hsin-min-t'un road there was a settle- 
ment cemetery surrounded by an open brick wall. The 
priests of the Orthodox State Church could all day be heard 
droning their spiritual te deum as they laid out numbers of 
high officers in shrouds to be interred in this choice place. 
Opposite this cemetery and beside the Hsin-min-t'un road, 
was the Kuei-kung — or mortuary — of the Chinese, where 
two or three soldiers who had turned it into a bivouac, as 
their own priests moaned out their requiems a few hundred 
yards away, continued to break up the coffins of the Chinese 
dead for firewood, as they had been doing throughout five 
months — the worm ever living upon the mold. Tocsin and 
dirge and the clatter of vandalism were intermingled. 

The sutler element were never quite so angry as on this 
day. In their settlement, whose bounds had been laid out 
by the gendarmes on the west side of the Mukden dagoba, 
those who had been caught again here were like hornets 
whose nest has been disturbed. Their hardihood was 
generally admirable. Some of them had acted on their 
own wise counsel and moved out at the beginning of the 
battle, but the larger number had risked another Russian 
battle, and were paying the penalty for their credulity. In 
utter desperation they hung on — with curses on Russian luck — 
to their drink and preserve-shops and high prices. The native 
thieves against whom the gendarmes had taken measures at 
one time and another all winter, were waiting around the 
corner like vultures to swoop down upon them. The 
gendarmes were no better. At one small shop I found 
my Greek of the An-p'ing road, whom I had not seen since 
the beginning of the battle of Liao-yang. He had not 

420 



Surrender of the Manchurian Capital 

been on the battlefield outside the settlement, and here in 
the settlement, at least, he had no " fear speak Anglis." 

" How are you? " said he gladly, and shook hands. 

" You see me here; we both come all way from Liang- 
chi-shan. Me have nice business here — no good, Russian all 
time go back. You think we go back? You think Japanese 
come here? " -- 

" Yes, I think so." ' 

" Then me lose everything. Me no Chinaman go Tieh- 
ling." 

His experience here was the last straw. He never after- 
ward appeared within the Russian lines, and his lasting 
curse rests upon Russia. 

Passing out on the north side of the settlement and follow- 
ing along the railway was a curious train of improvised 
ammunition carts hauling loaded mortar shells, and en route 
to the Imperial Northern Tombs. Many kinds of vehicles 
were represented in this train, from go-carts to Japanese 
transports, carriages and Peking carts. They were preceded 
by a squadron of Cossacks with whom was Taburno, a Rus- 
sian correspondent. 

Opposite the railway station on the west, just without 
the switches, were innumerable troops. The division num- 
bers on their shoulder-straps showed that immediately facing 
the settlement, within a half mile, more than four army corps 
were represented. Divisions Fourteen, Fifteen, Thirty-five, 
Fifty-five and Sixty-one, as well as two division numbers — 
Thirty-four and Sixteen — that I knew nothing of, covered 
the ground and made it black with men. They would see that 
the railway settlement was not endangered. Telephone wires 
radiated from General Kaulbars' house in the settlement and 
were trailed about in the furrows leading west over the plain 
to the position where, as had been the case for three days, 
the shells were continually bursting. The relics and parts 

421 



The Tragedy of Russia 



of four corps that were defending the west were supported 
by at least the relics of a part of three corps. The Seven- 
teenth European, Fifth Siberian, Eighth Siberian and Tenth 
Siberian entire, were supported by the First Siberian, the 
Sixteenth Corps, which was still arriving from Russia dur- 
ing the progress of the battle, and parts of the Sixth Siberian 
Corps, while the Western Detachment guarded the north. 
Fully eighty thousand men were opposing Nogi and Oku 
along the west. Throughout the morning the Eighth and 
the Seventeenth corps held the old railway embankment 
from Su-chia-t'un to the Hun. 

Losses that were on the seventh estimated at thirty-five 
thousand now jumped to fifty thousand, and promised to 
reach sixty to seventy thousand within another twenty-four 
hours — men feared to reckon the consequences of the con- 
tinuation of the battle. The dead and wounded were hourly 
falling into the enemy's lines, and it became generally known 
that considerable bodies of troops were from time to time 
disappearing. During the day I learned that telegrams were 
constantly reaching the commander-in-chief stating this fact. 
The feelings of the officers when confronted with the reports 
that the men were at intervals passing into the enemy's lines 
without military reason may be imagined, but may be better 
understood in the light of the subsequent flight from Mukden. 

The Japanese now broke the railway line and the telegraph 
near Hu-shi-t'ai, and all messages were refused by the tele- 
graph department. Japanese scouts were discovered at dawn 
in the groves of the Imperial Northern Tombs, two miles 
from Mukden, and were driven out by rifle fire, but their 
artillery had now advanced east of Pa-chia-tzii, and was 
throwing shells into the groves, which are the sacred pre- 
cincts of the relics of the first Manchu Emperor of China! 

In passing through the settlement again I had a glimpse 
of the Empress's hospital, and saw that the floors as well 

422 



Surrender of the Manchurian Capital 

as the cots were crowded with wounded. The chief sur- 
geon said he had there three hundred wounded officers, and 
that the whole number of wounded could not be less than 
forty thousand. He would remain, he said, with the wounded 
officers whatever happened, as they could not be moved. 
What he meant, though I did not know it until afterward, 
was that he had refused to consent to the wounded being 
removed. When ordered to evacuate the hospital he had 
replied that it was his business to save, not to waste or destroy 
life. He then received permission from the commander-in- 
chief to remain when the army retired. This he did, together 
with a number of faithful nurses and sanitaires, fighting the 
flames that attacked the buildings and rescuing the wounded 
from them, and seeing them carefully received by the Japa- 
nese Red Cross. 

In the east the line had reached Shi-hu-ch'ang, and the 
bridge-head south of Mukden was occupied and the army 
passing through it to the defenses in the sand dunes on the 
north bank of the Hun, where strong redoubts with tree- 
branch obstructions wired together awaited them. General 
Linievitch moved his headquarters north of the Hun, and 
was lost to the subsequent fortunes of the battle, for com- 
munications with him were impracticable from the moment 
the Hun River was abandoned on the following evening, 
and the Japanese severed his line. 

At the Hun River railway bridge the last refugees were 
coming in from Mo-chia-p'u. From the high abutment on the 
north bank, which commanded a view of the outspreading 
plain, a wonderful sight was spread. As far as the glasses 
reached was one vast conflagration which, by this time, from 
the great clouds of smoke rolling over it, gave the plain the 
appearance of smoldering in its own destruction. Over 
Mo-chia-p'u in the southwest a great white smoke column 
ascended, and without interval thence eastward continued 

423 



The Tragedy of Russia 



a dull low-hanging veil of smoke, dust and haze, high above 
which could be identified the smoke columns of more than 
a score of villages. At Chang-shang-mu-t'un in the east, 
late the commander-in-chief's headquarters, the conflagration 
of semi-Russian houses, and the fuel stores at Ku-chia-tzii 
near by, produced such dense and formidable clouds that in 
the rising wind they reached almost to Mukden. In this 
zone, fired at dawn and slowly desolated, a few infirm and 
impoverished Chinese farmers tottered about trying to save 
their houses if possible, or whatever they might. They 
had endured the usurping army which had permitted them to 
remain to see their agricultural substance confiscated without 
pay; their implements consumed in the oven furnaces, and 
had then subsisted on table crumbs that were better than any- 
thing they had even known. And at last it was their fate 
to see their roof-trees fired over their heads in spite of 
all supplication and kow-tow, and to potter about around the 
flames while the Japanese, carefully testing the ground, slowly 
advanced through the midday gloom. 

North from Mo-chia-p'u the line of redoubts could be 
traced by the bursting shells, until sight and sound of the same 
was lost in the distant north, where the little white puffs 
of shrapnel shells were the last evidences of battle revealed 
in the binocle. Only a little beyond this point the Japanese 
had reached the railway, which was now broken in two places, 
both within twenty miles of Mukden. While standing on 
the embankment, Japanese brisants shot at extreme range 
struck only a verst to the west of the railway where there was 
a great camp. A long line of artillery from inside the old 
railway embankment south of the Hun entered the line of 
the bridge-head and was moving up toward us. Hurrying 
across the Hun I learned that the bridge-head here was just 
being occupied. When asked if they had had an unlucky bat- 
tle, the artillerymen hurrying with their batteries along the 

424 



Surrender of the Manchurian Capital 

dusty road, said no, they had only received orders to report at 
once on the extreme right. Verily, Nogi was still flanking. 
I was with a British military agent — Captain Ayres — and 
we were arrested by pickets outside the bridge-head, and it 
was half an hour before we were released through the inter- 
vention of a passing officer. In turn we followed the columns 
of artillery northward. There was a brigade of them. At 
my side rode a Russian who commented on the infantry 
stragglers and malingerers in the road with us : 

" They will not stay in the ranks. Some are unfit to be 
soldiers, and all of them are tired out with the war." 

Some were in fact wounded. Others were front-scared, 
bullet-scared, shrapnel-tired, worn out from too much being 
expected of them. Some of them looked like domestics, and 
all were mere peasants. 

" They go over to the enemy if they have a good chance, " 
said he, " many of them." " If their officers disappear, are 
wounded or killed, they remain under shelter until the Japa- 
nese lines move past them, when they surrender." 

The settlement more than at any time was now articulate 
with war. The zemlyanka settlement just south of the sid- 
ings, set apart for the headquarters' trains, was an extensive 
hospital which somewhat resembled a slaughter yard. A 
wide space on one side was set apart for the dead, of which 
there were several hundred. The road through the place 
was chock-a-block with four-wheeled baggage wagons and 
Chinese carts loaded with wounded, and regular field ambu- 
lances of several different patterns — all full of wounded 
Russian and Japanese soldiers, whom it was impossible 
for the sanitaires to attend. Passing soldiers stopped 
to look at them. They had waited, many of them, for 
hours, even days, for assistance which might never come. 
In their tumbrils drawn up in the gutters and between the 
zemlyankas these feverish men were some of them sleeping, 

425 



The Tragedy of Russia 



some eating, and some were dying. But all of them I 
noticed possessed that automatic quiet and uncomplaining 
spirit, becoming men who go to war, for such have nothing 
to ask for, nothing to expect but the worst — all else being 
mere gratuity. The display of wounded was greater than I 
had ever seen and was such as to make one question his 
own right to leave the place without some effort in their 
behalf. The Red Cross, as is inevitable in war, was inade- 
quate. All was inadequate, one could not help standing 
aghast at that all-powerful fact. Not only human imple- 
ments and human strength were inadequate, but human wis- 
dom, human inspiration and human control. We were 
breaking from our moorings and drifting with time. 

On the west this had been perhaps the hardest day since 
the beginning, for the Japanese appeared even more deter- 
mined and more persisting at all points of a line fifteen 
miles in length to break the whole west and reach the rail- 
way. The armies of the south were moving north by all 
roads, and had begun to realize that the battle of Mukden 
had already surpassed in magnitude the battle of the Sha-ho, 
and would probably exceed in magnitude any other battle of 
the war. At sundown as I entered the settlement again, the 
Japanese, raising a field-gun to the angle of extreme range, 
burst two or three shrapnel high up, a verst west of Mukden 
station, evidently as a salute. Near the frame building that 
had been Admiral Alexeieff's headquarters and private house, 
was a Japanese officer prisoner. He was wounded, his arm 
was in a sling, and was being taken in the direction of the 
headquarters' train. Both Japanese officers and men were 
to be met with all about the settlement, especially the 
wounded, who were cared for in the same manner as the 
Russian wounded. 

The road from the Hun through the settlement was 
clanking at dusk with the interminable artillery, hurrying to 

426 



Surrender of the Manchurian Capital 

the north. And in the side streets were caught the trams 
of army paraphernalia, which, with the ambulances, make all 
battles look alike, for they appear principally to consist of 
the wounded and the baggage. 

With the coming darkness the battle seemed to close, and it 
was the thirteenth day. In the night the Japanese continued 
their attacks and rushed a village on the right, where they 
secured and held several isolated houses with machine-guns. 
The ninth, which was to be our last day at Mukden, dawned 
with the right hinging at a spot on the north bank of the Hun 
inside Mo-chia-p'u, which the Japanese had taken. Cognac at 
dark had fallen from four roubles, fifty kopeks, to two fifty, 
and the desperation of the army was reflected in the sutlers. 
It was the fourteenth day of battle that was to be the unlucky 
day, for upon the fourteenth a dust-storm such as is com- 
mon to all north China and Mongolia obliterated the land- 
scape and buried the armies in clouds of profound gloom. It 
was as though nature in very abhorrence of the spectacle was 
drawing a veil over this unexampled great sorrow. Among 
the Chinese it was an omen, some signal event in their history 
having coincided with just such a storm. And to the army 
itself it was hardly less than an omen, for the sense of 
an attending great Jehovah had gotten into them through 
their adversities. Physical exhaustion had awakened their 
temperamental and spiritual vision. At dawn the dust was 
blinding, and toward noon it was impossible to distinguish 
any part of the battle line. The shells seemed to go wander- 
ing about in the upper air looking for some place to break. 
The possibility of terrible and grewsome encounters where 
none would be able to see, and the apprehension of the 
strategical advantage the enemy might gain by the gloom, 
were themes which displaced those conjectures with which the 
army had been for a fortnight harassed. 

The storm seemed to accelerate the movement of the 

427 



The Tragedy of Russia 



armies that were pouring up the right flank. General Linie- 
vitch was reported fully retired with the First Army to the 
north bank of the Hun, and was himself some place east of 
Fu-ling. General Bilderling was established in a village at 
the southwest corner of Mukden walls, while General Kaul- 
bars was still at the settlement directing the defense of the 
right, for that was all that it was possible to attempt. In 
order to steady the army when the Japanese came in con- 
tact with the line again at the Hun, the commander-in-chief 
maintained his headquarters at the settlement in his train, 
but even then it appeared that this was a mere demonstration, 
like the detention of the bank, which had been simultaneously 
ordered and was intended especially to impress the Chinese. 
The device was of small avail. In the settlement the bottom 
went out of all prices, while roubles went out of the market — 
they, too, had fallen with the fall of cognac and champagne. 
The native bankers knew that the Russian Bank was still 
in town, but they sent the rouble to its lowest level. The 
native merchants buried their roubles in the floors of their 
shops and went to printing Japanese flags! In a couple of 
hours after the commencement of the storm they were pre- 
pared to resume business with Asahi beer, Kobe matches, 
Japanese cottons, stationery, canned milk, etc., under the 
administration of Oyama. The interpreters of Russian in 
the shops forgot the speech which had been golden, and 
brushed up a few Japanese phrases that had been handed 
down from 1896. Those Chinese army interpreters who, 
by blackmail and other dark crimes, had enriched themselves, 
armed with Russian sword and pistol and provided with 
horses, prepared to ride away. 

On the morning of the ninth I made sure that my horses 
and my cart were in readiness, and left my servants to guard 
them while I took my faithful Australian mare and made a 
final tour of our now famous western line. 

428 



Surrender of the Manchurian Capital 

It was still repeated from mouth to mouth that Kouro- 
patkin had declared himself satisfied with the situation, but 
I am obliged to confess in mentioning this that I did not 
know whether this repetition was in irony and derision, or 
in wonder and speculation. Though Kouropatkin had failed 
on the northwest he had held the Japanese at his inner line 
of defense along the high ground back of the Imperial 
Northern Tombs and recovered and repaired the railway 
and telegraph to the north. These facts, together with his 
statement of continued confidence, served to hold the army 
steady. 

About one o'clock the wind and dust subsided, and the 
sun shone out lazy and warm. 

The dead on the west had not been buried for four days. 
There was blood everywhere behind the main positions at 
the redoubts; blood of slaughtered beef, flesh of animals 
killed by projectiles, and dead men's faces ! Here, where 
" by the hundred and the thousand men's lives are cropt," 
were thousands of infantry supports sleeping among dead 
draught and riding animals, and the debris of slaughtered 
cattle and sheep, and bursting shrapnel. Farther south along 
the line were more supports, hugging the firm earth of which 
they seemed a part; it would not be long until some of them 
were of it. A hundred feet from the track six horses had been 
killed by a brisant. A brisant routed a wagon-train with which 
I was moving, and the soldiers by the roadside, taking no 
notice of the brisant, only quarreled about the horse feed. 
Four Russian soldiers carried on their shoulders a wounded 
Japanese; at a battery momentarily quiet the gunners sat in the 
mouth of their blindage (bomb-proof) ready to pounce out 
and meet the enemy's fire. At the little hamlet opposite 
Mo-chia-p'u the gun-horses stood half asleep behind the 
mud walls of the houses, while the mortars an hundred and 
fifty yards in front were worked furiously. The road lead- 

429 



The Tragedy of Russia 



ing up the Hun was plowed into dust by the caissons feeding 
these mortars, which were throwing shot into Mo-chia-p'u. 
Along the road leading up the railway where so many had 
passed before them, marched as best they could half a dozen 
wounded Japanese prisoners. They were very tired, but they 
were the center of an amazing spectacle, for they were lead- 
ing a mile's length of Russian cannon in rapid retreat to the 
distant north. 

The troops poured north. It could not be disguised that 
the bandy-legged conquerors were hustling the Russian 
armies. Six Japanese prisoners stopped by the wayside to 
rest, and the clumsy Russian soldiers who, as McCullagh 
says, look like great outdoor animals, helped to get the cloth 
of their trousers free from the clotted blood of their wounds 
— and tenderly drew it back over the wounds again. 

A more unhappy army certainly never fought a battle or 
tried to do the will of a sovereign. They were downcast, 
beaten, these veterans of so many hard-fought battles — all 
of which had ended in defeat. Their faces were flaccid, 
sleepless, they were tired, and they seemed to divine that 
this was the beginning of their last retreat. 

In making their way along, the Russian and Japanese sol- 
diers could not speak to each other, but went with a dumb 
communion, finding under the deep dark shadow of a wild- 
looking busby, or beneath the little shadow of a service-cap, 
as the case might be, eyes kindlier than they had imagined 
before they met. 

From the railway bridge twenty-five burning villages 
could be counted around the horizon between Mo-chia-p'u 
and Chang-shang-mu-t'un. Soon after this the wind rose 
and the weather thickened. The Japanese had by this time 
crowded up through the smoke and desolation of the southern 
plain to the bridge-head itself. They were but four and one- 
half versts from the embankment where we stood, and at 

43° 



Surrender of the Manchurian Capital 

three o'clock in the afternoon a part of the Russian rear- 
guard occupied the redoubt at the bridge abutment, from 
where the officers searched the hazy, dusty plain beyond the 
river for the enemy. Their troops maneuvered the guns 
there, bringing up ammunition from the rear, and the com- 
mander ordered me to retire out of fire, for we were then 
within rifle range of the enemy. 

To fifty miles of summer haze on the west and south add 
the smoke of a thousand square miles of burning fuel and 
forage stores, and villages; add the smoke of battle, the 
gloom of a great Mongolian or Manchurian dust-storm, and 
it will be readily understood that in all these terrors, separate 
conflagration from explosions or newly fired camps were no 
longer distinguishable. The storm increased in intensity 
filling men with awesome wonder, for indeed the elements 
seemed to have brought to the scene all that could have been 
lacking of the sable hues of war. So great was the gloom 
and sound — it was like moonlight — that the battle seemed to 
stop, and nothing was heard but the wind. " The Japa- 
nese," said an officer, " are taking advantage of the obscurity 
of the storm to shift their guns." 

The native city toward the close of day was hushed. 
Shops were closed, and the people who were aghast at the 
artillery, which at intervals could now be heard in all direc- 
tions, had for the most part deserted the streets. 

In its new position the Russian army held its own for 
several hours. It was not a brilliant record. Kouropatkin, 
with all the troops which for thirty hours he had been march- 
ing up the railway, was unable to drive Nogi farther back 
from the railway in the region of Hu-shi-t'ai; while Linie- 
vitch, in supreme command of the magnificent hill fortifica- 
tions on the north bank of the Hun, was not able for an 
hour to hold his line. About four o'clock, when the whole 
vast battlefield was enveloped in darkness almost equal to 

431 



The Tragedy of Russia 



that of night, the Japanese crossed the Hun opposite Chiu- 
chan, and the Russian line parted and fell away. 

We did not know this. Only the commander-in-chief knew 
it, and about sundown ordered the army to retreat. Before 
sundown the storm lifted long enough to enable the artiller- 
ists to renew the firing and the infantry scouts to try and 
discover what had taken place during the gloom. As it did 
so the roll of artillery could be heard in all directions. The 
impressions made at the time when we heard from the direct 
north and the northeast these cannon sounds, added to the 
now stale and monotonous cannonading on the west and 
south, were in the nature of revelations well-nigh impossible 
to believe. 

At the station just after dark there was still a great com- 
motion from the army of the south falling back, converting 
the settlement into a roaring metropolis. The settlement 
buildings were singularly quiet. Intermingled with the long 
lines of lighted trains extending in all directions, were tired 
animals, tired soldiers, tired vehicles, tired prisoners, and 
some nondescript Chinese. Everywhere were improvised 
camps, railways, telegraphs, and telephones, where three 
days before were fallow fields. 

The first thing learned was that Kouropatkin's train had 
hurriedly gone north at nightfall. As it proceeded up the 
railway with smothered lights it passed at two places in sight 
of the Japanese pickets, and spectators standing on the dark 
platforms looking through the beveled glass doors of the 
vestibules could see, when the guns flashed, the red muzzles 
of the Mikado's cannon. 

The entire city, the Hun position, hospitals filled with 
wounded, everything at that hour that was incapable of 
carrying itself, was slated for abandonment, and the fight 
given up. General Zarubaieff was already selected to form 
a rear-guard, though he was cut off on the east. His son 

43 2 



Surrender of the Manchurian Capital 

unwittingly had ridden across the rear of the Japanese 
column that had broken the line at Chiu-chan, and had been 
fired on by the Japanese, whom he took for his own soldiers, 
and having passed into his own line again with dispatches, 
was decorated for the exploit. All knowledge of the real 
situation was carried away in the commander-in-chief's train. 
Only orders for immediate retreat were known. Dreading 
the effect upon the army of a knowledge of its plight, and in 
danger of being cut off, the headquarters fled. Mukden was 
sealed with secrecy except for the scurry and flight which 
nothing could conceal. 

In the railway restaurant two topics were discussed over 
the still smoking samovar: the flight of the commander-in- 
chief with the headquarters staff, and the losses of the battle. 
The wounded were given at fifty thousand then — though 
this was known to be too small — and the dead and lost at 
twenty thousand more. Men jumped at these figures, which 
a careful calculation would have increased. 

The censorate was dismantled, and the officers there were 
eating a hurried meal off a goods-book. These officers doled 
out the wretched information that the telegraph had been 
closed and decamped; that the censorate was moving north 
and that messages must be sent to Tieh-ling for transmission 
by telegraph. This information was quite unnecessary, con- 
sidering that the mere looks of these men and the appearance 
of their surroundings fairly shouted out the facts. The chief 
officer did not make any attempt to explain the situation — 
he did not even explain that retreat was ordered, and that 
it was time to go. It was the reign of bedlam — every man 
for himself, and the hindmost to go to the devil if he could 
escape the Japanese, which he could not, for the Japanese 
would have the hindmost in spite of the devil, as they had 
always had. 

On my way to the Yellow Temple I stopped to inform 

433 



The Tragedy of Russia 



a Russian friend, correspondent Borodovkin, of what I 
had seen and heard. He was incredulous. 

11 Yes," said I, " cognac can now be had at the settlement 
for the carrying it away. The censors are bickering for a 
railway truck to get them to Tieh-ling. Kouropatkin is 
now already close to Tieh-ling, and we have nothing to do 
but to follow after them all." 

I got out into the night again and made my way home. 
The camps about the Temple were quiet, for they had not 
received the order of retreat, and the Japanese were forg- 
ing their way far north of us into Linievitch's line. As 
I passed in through the courtyard door, my two captains 
were fitted into their narrow berths of wood, a little 
cramped, but ready for the journey ! I told my servants to 
sleep in the cart with my goods, which were partly loaded, 
so that the goods would not be commandeered or stolen in 
the night, and going in I ate the supper which my cook had 
prepared, and sat down to write my last telegrams on the 
battle that had> just closed. 

At three o'clock in the morning of the tenth, while I 
was still writing, a messenger came from Borodovkin to 
say that he would leave for Tieh-ling at dawn. The settle- 
ment at midnight was deserted and the buildings strewn and 
littered with papers, while lamps had been left burning to 
deceive the enemy's spies and balloon scouts, and give them 
the impression that the settlement was still occupied. All 
night there was a spirited contest at the railway station for 
transportation by train to the north, for the denizens of the 
settlement were learning of the flight of the army. Men 
and women hurried away as best they could just as soon as 
they discovered the true situation, which slowly and in spite 
of the secrecy was percolating the scattered foreign homes of 
Mukden and its environs. 

It is fitting to let the veil of night close the scene of con- 

434 



Surrender of the Manchurian Capital 

flict on the battle-ground around Mukden, for all the armies 
were now in retreat. " Men's nerves were worn out, men's 
hearts were desperate," and the Grand Army of Russia, 
beaten as it never had been beaten, sought its escape. 



435 



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